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11 November 2022

Virtues in Paradise: Reviving what matters most

Saturday 30 March 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion, Virtues in Paradise

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Virtues in Paradise: Reviving what matters most

Easter is a holy season – honouring the sacrifice Jesus made by giving his life for humanity and celebrating that he rose from the dead, writes Linda Kavelin-Popov.

“I am the resurrection and the life.” (John 11:25) Easter brings new life. It is a symbol of hope. It’s often preceded by days of fasting and prayer.

A Seventh Day Adventist friend jokingly told me his knees were getting sore during lent. Members of the Baha’i Faith have just completed their 19 day fasting period and celebrated their new year on March 21st.. Muslims are fasting for the month of Ramadan. Although I am past the age of physical fasting, I spent this time turning inward, reflecting deeply on what I need to revive with God’s help.

For people of faith, Easter is a perfect time to take the gifts of this season to heart – to step back from the normal world of things and activities and reflect on our lives. How can we personalise the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus? What is God calling you to sacrifice? What needs to be resurrected in your life – to be revived or revitalised?

The Book of Mormon speaks of the power of agency, one of God’s greatest gifts to us. It is the ability and privilege to choose. Even if we believe in free will, we rarely tap its full power. Easter is an ideal time to energise this important virtue.

Contemplate a change that would enrich your life. Set your intention, which is like the prow of a ship, leading the way. I have found it is nearly impossible to stop doing something, even when I really want to give it up. It is much better to start doing something new to replace the old habit. Do you want to bring new life to an unhappy relationship? Are you willing to sacrifice the troubled C’s of control, criticism, competition or contempt, and replace them with the virtues of accepting others as they are, assertiveness to ask for what you need, and appreciation for the virtues they already show?  

Lent or fasting reminds us to ask, what am I ready and willing to sacrifice to live a better life, to pursue not my will but God’s will for me? Sacrifice means giving up something important for something more important. It also means “to make sacred”.

The Baha’i Writings say, “I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love.” 

Researchers tell us that it takes 21 to 66 days to establish a new habit. Say, you wanted to give up arguing with your spouse. Your new habit might be simply zipping your lip when a negative reaction is on the tip of your tongue. Even better, summon your sacred curiosity.  “Help me understand how you see it,” “Tell me more,” or “What are those tears?”

Choosing is the soul work we came here to do. This Easter, focus on hope that you can create a better life. You have the wings to soar, so don’t be grounded by old habits. Have the courage to lift yourself up, trusting in the winds of Grace.