Contributors Learning to love like him

Don’t set yourself up for failure this Lent

Joshua Ruoff is the lead consultant for the archdiocesan special-needs ministry. He can be reached by email at:

by Joshua Ruoff

How bout those CHIIEEFFS!!!

I hope all of you remembered to start Lent off by attending Ash Wednesday Mass before or after the parade.

Psalm 34 reminds us to bless the Lord at all times. It’s easy to give praise to God when our team is winning and when things are going well in life, but we are called to give him praise even when things aren’t going well.

One of my favorite sports movies is “Facing the Giants.” A great line from the movie is: “If we win, we praise him. If we lose, we praise him.”

After the Chiefs defeated the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship, I saw a wonderful picture of Chiefs owner Clark Hunt and his family huddled together before the game praying together. I don’t know exactly what was said, but knowing that Hunt has made an effort to use the winning stages as a way to give glory to God, I am sure that they were making sure as a family to give praise to God no matter the outcome of the game.

As we enter into Lent, it is important to remember that in order to get to the victory over death at Easter, the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to us of our resurrection into eternal life, we first must enter into the desert with him, die to ourselves, pick up our cross and follow him at all times, especially when it is the most difficult.

Here are some tips to hopefully help keep our focus fixed on giving praise to Jesus through our sacrifices and challenges of Lent and our everyday lives.

First, don’t set yourself up for failure. I think we sometimes set expectations of ourselves too high, thinking that we have the ability to become a saint overnight. Make daily resolutions for yourself every day that create small changes over time that will eventually lead into a greater transformation of your heart.

Second, have patience with yourself. It is so easy to fall short of our Lenten promises and daily resolutions and then immediately give up. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Forgive yourself and, most importantly, allow Jesus’ mercy to fill your heart through the sacrament of reconciliation as often as you can.

Third, don’t do it alone. We were never meant to live this life or work to get to heaven alone. Even Jesus needed help in carrying his cross to Calvary. Find accountability and support through family, friends, clergy, a spiritual mentor or even professional help.

May this Lent be the start of transforming your heart and your life to live ever more abundantly in his love every day.

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Joshua Ruoff

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