Friends, as you begin the Lenten season, do not do it. Do not even think about it. You would fail just as every other human being who has ever tried. What am I talking about? I am talking about controlling the people in your life. You cannot do it. Why would you want to? You cannot control your parents, your spouse, your children, or your friends. In fact, you cannot control anything about them. You cannot control their thoughts, their decisions, their emotions, their attitudes, or their actions. Nor does God want you to control them. After all, He did not create you to control them. As such, do not be controlling in your relationship to others. In doing so, you would only be forcing or coercing them against their will. Indeed, you would be acting against reason and nature. Did God not create the human being to mature, gradually, to full or perfect adulthood, not by force or coercion, but through the virtue of rational and free moral choices? He certainly did! For the human person, this involves opening his heart to God’s grace by acting virtuously. Accordingly, you can only become the holy child God created you to be by using your mind and will prudently and charitably as God wills. This is your response to God’s offer of grace. Consequently, your desire to control others is not from God. All you can do as a human being is form your family and friends intellectually and morally by teaching them to use their mind and will virtuously as God desires. During Lent, this would especially involve forming and teaching them about the virtues of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. In doing so, you are certainly not controlling them, but preparing them for happiness in God. This is a freedom for happiness that begins in this life, but is only perfectly fulfilled in Heaven. Are you willing to form your family and friends as such? This alone will help them become saints. During this season of Lent, I hope and pray, by the grace of God, you will free yourself from your desire to control others by saying yes to your call to form them virtuously as God wills.
In Christ with Blessed Mary,
Friar Mariano D. Veliz, O.P.