Deliberate Practice | Pt 36

“If you’re not trying to get better, you’re going to get worse.” –Steve Huston, Artist

I was watching a Proko interview with Steve Huston (link below), and Steve said this at one point, talking about his journey in art. It struck me because of how true I have seen it in my art-when I’ve taken some time away from the canvas or the paper (even if only a few days), I’ve noticed that it takes me a few lines and some brushstrokes to get back into the groove of how to do things properly (or as properly as my feeble fingers are capable).

In the spiritual life, this is also so true. It’s easy to put things off on the shelf for a little while. It’s easy to ease up on this penance or that prayer, because we’re tired or hungry or had a bad day at work. All of that is fine, but it’s important to remember that there is no “standing still” in the spiritual life.

Pope St. John Paul II, in his book The Acting Person, once put it that every action either builds up a person’s character or undermines it. It’s like we’re on a treadmill-if we do not advance, we slowly move backwards, because whether we like it or not, time marches on. Each new second that ticks by finds us-how we employ these seconds matters. We are truly working and practicing at becoming great Catholics. This is why it’s called practicing Catholics (haha, ecclesial dad jokes. It’s always good to study patristics).

This is why I think Lent is such a wonderful time of year-it’s 40(ish) days. It gives us a finite period of time with a great celebration at the end, and reminds us that we are striving towards a goal, and we have a limited amount of time to do what we can. It’s worth thinking and praying about what we ought to do in order to get better. Because, after all, if we aren’t trying to get better, we’re going to get worse.

Hope your Holy week is getting off to a great start!

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