Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Habits Determine Our Future

"Don't live so fast!" The priest writer remembers these words of a shopkeeper on a visit to a market with his mother when he was a seminarian. On the way home, with a smile on her face: "The stranger seeing my son for the first time, sized you up correctly didn't he?" With these words, a seminary rector gives us a meditation on habit written up in Bible Life magazine.

Impetuosity was one of his faults. From a young age, he always found it difficult to patiently work on anything for any period of time. A habit that influenced his life negatively and he wanted to gain control.

He looked for tangled messes of thread and patiently unraveled them. Did this cure his impetuosity? No, it continued to be present but working with tangled messes, he was able to tame his old friend.

We should never underestimate the power of habit. On television, he recalls a program using hidden cameras that followed some performers during a whole day picking out their good and bad habits. The cameras highlighted: habits of eating salty and spiced foods, eating fast, drinking liquor at night, missing eating time, exercise, breathing deeply, and their way of sitting. We are ruled by our habits.

A habit found at three will go to eighty. A Korean proverb which shows that children under three are not conscious of themselves but this changes. Scary is the knowledge that the habits we pick up at that age will last a lifetime.

From Latin, we have the word 'fortune and virtue'. Fortune is good luck, experienced without preparation, while virtue is the selection of the good with deliberate practice and repetition, a continual choice that becomes a virtue.

Evil acts, whether it is today or tomorrow we don't know, the results will not be good. Like the evil acts, good acts that are repeated countless times will become part of who we are.

At a meeting, the writer mentions they were talking about the healthy teeth of an older  gentlemen. In the conversation that followed the gentleman gave his secret which very simply was to brush your teeth with devotion 3 times a day. Doesn't seem a very serious secret method but after some thought, he did agree.

My habits will determine my future. Not only physical health habits but also spiritual health habits. The habits of prayer, thanksgiving will make the future one of hope. Do our spiritual health habits have the same weight as brushing our teeth? They should.

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