Lenten Resolutions

CARYLL HOUSELANDER

As to your Lent ... I can only tell you my own experience.

A mass of good resolutions, I think, are apt to end up in disappointment and to make one depressed.  Also direct fault-uprooting:  it makes one concentrate too much on self and that can be so depressing.  The only resolution I have ever found works is: "Whenever I want to think of myself, I will think of God."

Now, this does not mean, "I will make a long meditation on God," but just some short sharp answer, so to speak, to my thought of self, in God.  For example:

"I am lonely, misunderstood, etc."  The loneliness of Christ at his trial; the misunderstanding even of his closest friends."

Or:

"I have made a fool of myself."

"Christ mocked — he felt it;  he put the mocking first in foretelling his Passion — 'The Son of Man shall be mocked, etc.' — made a fool of, before all whom he loved."

Or:

"I can't go on, unhelped."

Christ couldn't.  He couldn't carry the cross without help; he was grateful for human sympathy — Mary Magdalene — his words on that occasion — other examples as they suggest themselves — just pictures that flash through the mind."  This practice becomes a habit and it is the habit which has saved me from despair! ...

Different people have different approaches to Christ.  He has become all things — infant, child, man — so that we all can approach him in the way easiest for us.  The best is to use that way to our heart's content, and not to trouble about any other.

 

 



ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

Caryll Houselander. "Lenten Resolutions." excerpt from The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy (Sheed and Ward, New York, 1965).

Reproduced by kind permission of Continuum International Publishing Group, a Bloomsbury Company. This excerpt appeared in Magnificat in February 2013.

THE AUTHOR

Caryll Houselander (1901-1954) was a British Roman Catholic laywoman; a mystic, writer, artist, visionary and healer. Born in London in 1901, Caryll was the second of two daughters born to Willmott and Gertrude (nee Provis) Houselander. Her first book, This War is the Passion, written during World War II, launched her prolific writing career. Houselander's talents included painting and many woodcarvings. Caryll's "divinely eccentric" life was principally a devotion to contemplating Christ in all and men and women and in all life circumstances.  Maisie Ward (a friend of Caryll and author of her principal biography, Caryll Houselander; That Divine Eccentric) states, "Her message can be summed in a single sentence; we must learn to see Christ in everyone."  Msgr. Ronald Knox was quoted as saying about Caryll's writing style, " . . . she seemed to see everything for the first time and the driest of doctrinal considerations shone out like a restored picture when she finished it."  Caryll Houselander has been described as being a mystic in the tradition of Julian of Norwich, Catherine of Siena, and Teresa of Avila. She is best known for her works: A Rocking Horse Catholic, The Reed of God, The Way of the Cross, This War is the Passion, The Letters Of Caryll Houselander: Her Spiritual Legacy, and her book of poetry The Flowering Tree.

Copyright © Continuum International




Subscribe to CERC's Weekly E-Letter

 

 

Not all articles published on CERC are the objects of official Church teaching, but these are supplied to provide supplementary information.