March 9, 2007: Friday of the Second Week of Lent

PRACTICING THE VIRTUE OF HONESTY

Isn’t the Bible large enough that we could get through Lent without repeating a reading? And five weeks in a row at that? Yet, the Evening Prayer uses James 5:16, 19-20 for the Friday after Ash Wednesday and for the Fridays of the first four weeks of Lent.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. …

Why is it repeated? One reason is that we must practice honesty. We Christians must be honest and to be honest is a way of life. We need to practice honesty in both senses, that is, to actually live it out in our lives and also to take opportunities to try and be honest under the guidance and supervision of a coach of some sort.

We modern people tend to believe the virtues, such as honesty, are just procedural matters to be executed by something called the free-will when we need to act virtuously. Virtues are character traits and character is formed by practice. Character is made up largely of habits, including habits of mind and heart.

We need to practice in the sense of systematic exercise. We need to accustom ourselves to repeating desirable actions until we get them right. Athletes know this. A second-baseman practices the turn for the double-play until he has reflexes that allow him to operate faster than he could if any conscious thought were involved. As St. Paul told us, dedicated athletes can provide good examples, not in virtue as such, but in their recognition that systematic exercise is necessary to win their races. We also need practice, systematic exercise, to win our races for salvation and even to become good human beings in creaturely terms. This exercise may start out just being external but constant repetition will drive it into our minds and hearts.

We should confess our sins, repeatedly and regularly just as we should read repeatedly those sections of Holy Scripture which encourage us to confess our sins. We should intend to confess regularly and to be as honest as possible.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Christian spirituality, Lenten meditations, Moral issues, Peace of Christ, Religion

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