Killing it softly. Or not.

The history of my stupidity would fill many volumes.

Some would be devoted to acting against consciousness,
Like the flight of a moth which, had it known,
Would have tended nevertheless toward the candle’s flame.

Others would deal with ways to silence anxiety,
The little whisper which, though it is a warning, is ignored.

I would deal separately with satisfaction and pride,
The time when I was among their adherents
Who strut victoriously, unsuspecting.

But all of them would have one subject, desire,
If only my own—but no, not at all; alas,
I was driven because I wanted to be like others.
I was afraid of what was wild and indecent in me.

The history of my stupidity will not be written.
For one thing, it’s late. And the truth is laborious.
— ACCOUNT - Czesław Miłosz

This is on what went wrong with Catholic "giving up" during Lent or Advent, or whatever other season. 

1. To "give up" means to abstain for a time. It became a Catholic way of going through Lent. Or Advent. That's why giving up candy or chocolate often becomes as meaningless as not watching cartoons. Trivializing the ways and possibilities for entering into the reality of God's life is worse than doing nothing, because you are numbing your heart and your head with the traditions of men rather than opening them to God's grace. 

2. If you give up something to later reward yourself by indulging in it, you are not understanding the purpose of fasting. If Easter Sunday means consuming tons of chocolate, playing computer games or having a movie marathon (I realize that I am listing trivial examples here; everyone knows their deadly sins well), you are becoming a moralist, not a saint. If it doesn't pain you, it will not work. Because to die will cost you everything. What should be left is you, in need of mercy, and your God in whom mercy triumphs over justice. 

3. No one wants to see you kicking or screaming. Die quickly and quietly. If you can't, ask God for grace or stop trying it and recognize why are you not ready. It is usually as obvious as the sun rising. If it's not, ask your best friend. 

4. Don't brag and don't compare yourself, not even inside of your head. It is your fight, your race, your suffering, your destiny, your awakening. 

5. What is the best way to go about it? Think of your vices (habits inclining you to sin). Pray about one particular nasty one that you would like to put to death once for all. Kill it softly. Don't ask, don't tell. Go to your closet (even literally) and deal with God. No whining outside of your closet. Save the planet from that. 

6. Easter Sunday will be then your check-in point, not your finish line. Make that check-in point significant, full of encounters with God. Your eternity with God starts now. 

7. Never give up.