Byrnes Syndrome

           I once heard a joke, "A man is waiting in a doctor's office and the doctor enters, "I have good news and bad news."
                The man responds, "What's the good news, Doctor?"
                The Doctor answered, "We know what is wrong with you."
                "What is it Doc?" The man gleefully asked.
                "That's the bad news. It's going to be named after you."
Last month I encouraged everyone to increase their prayer life in Lent. I hope everyone succeeded or at least tried. This article is for those who are struggling to keep up that routine or have dropped it completely. There were two Lents where I pushed my prayer life. The first year I told myself I'm going to pray the rosary every day. I failed miserably. The next year I tried a Rosary once a week. It didn't work either. My daily prayers lasted about 2-3 minutes and all of a sudden I believed I could go from two minutes of praying to 20 minutes. The soul doesn't work that way. It is just like a runner who can't go from running two miles a day and run a marathon. I found I had this expectation of instant holiness without a long hard struggle, and I'm now calling that state of mind the "Byrnes Syndrome." I may not be the first, but I certainly feel I exemplify the problem.
                "Byrnes Syndrome" ignores how God calls us to holiness. Holiness is like cooking a Thanksgiving turkey. It takes a great deal of hard work and hours of cooking to truly change that bird into a delicious feast. I always had the expectation of microwaving everything, and I fell flat every time. The center of the "Byrnes Syndrome" is pride and its victim is hope. It goes through the head of the infected, "People spent their lives fighting through their own desires to get holy, but I'll do it in two weeks and be good." The" infected" think themselves better than the saints and holy people that go before them. We need to patiently and humbly accept who we are now while looking at who we want to be. Not one Saint or holy person had an easy road to sanctity. After that failed attempt, their pride cannot handle the disappointment and they lose hope in achieving holiness.  If anyone reading this failed in their Lenten promises or in their new prayer routine, reduce it to a goal you can manage but is challenging. Make it something that doesn't intimidate you, or make you lose hope and gradually make your way back to your original goal. Holiness is a marathon and journey, not a sprint. As long as the person is moving closer to Jesus, even crawling, he will help them. He'll give you the strength you need.


What's Byrning Byrnes

A Monthly Article by our Coordinator of Youth Ministry Kevin Byrnes addressing issues of the Christian life. Read More

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