In Part I of this post, the Very Reverend Lejeune clearly laid out the reason for failure to make progress in sanctity. He encourages us to fortify our wills by making clear resolutions and not simply harboring mere desires. But just how do we do that? He offers us a roadmap.
First, “a resolution should be precise (131)”. This is not new guidance. What was new for me was Monsignor Lejeune’s straightforward words:
You will only waste your time, if you make ‘resolutions’ such as these: I wish to do better. . . I desire to correct my faults . . . I would like to acquire the virtues which are dear to the heart of Jesus, etc. . . . If you really desired to correct your faults, you would not make such vague resolutions. You would seek out the means that tend towards the end in view, and when you had discovered the road, you would say: ‘I must take that road.’ (131-132)
He next stresses that the resolutions we make must be practical. Again, he follows this with strong reminder:
You know from experience that long-dated resolutions amount to nothing. I might even add that they betray a disloyalty on the part of those who make them. ‘I desire to reform, but I shall begin in a week from now.’ It would be so much better to say: ‘I do not wish to reform at all.’ This would be harsh indeed, but true. Sincere resolutions ought to be put into practice not in a week from now, not tomorrow, but this very day. If not, they are useless. (132-133)
Monsignor Lejeune concludes that our resolutions should be constant. He warns:
To vacillate, to jump from one resolution to another, to undertake the reform of one fault today, and give your attention to some other tomorrow, means certain failure. You will attain serious and lasting results in the spiritual life, only by directing your forces towards one end. Dispersion of the energies engenders a fatal sterility. (133)
“If you really desired . . .” ” . . . betray a disloyalty . . .” “. . . a fatal sterility . . .” Sometimes, it is only the apparently harsh but truly loving words of a spiritual father that spur us on to action. Monsignor Lejeune’s writings have served as a wake-up call to me to become more stern with myself in forming and then carrying out proper resolutions.
I have often found that leading by example is a more powerful impetus for my children than barking out orders. Thus, in actualizing my own resolutions, I will better be able to model for my children how better to form and accomplish their own. May our Blessed Mother serve as our guide and example, as we strive to echo her “Fiat” and align our own wills to that of our loving God.