Overcoming Those Quite Habits

St. Jerome Studying and Commenting on the Word

St. Jerome Studying

Sometimes you just sort of start doing something without realizing it is becoming a new habit. I rise early so that I can read either from the Word or from writers who can teach me about the Word. Have my coffee. Meditate. Write. And then I’m ready for the day.

But…the first thing I do when coming downstairs is head for the front door and pick up the morning paper. Then I scan the first couple of sections while my coffee is brewing. Then I sit down and finish the paper. Then there went 15-20 minutes. Gone. Most of the “news” is “olds” by the time I read it in the paper. Except maybe for some sports scores. And I read some of the comics. Sometimes I find I’ve read a column or article or two that were just mindless entertainment.

I’ve become distracted. Lost some of my precious time. It’s not that I’m so Puritan that I don’t believe in entertainment. I watch the TV series “Elementary” most every week. Sometimes I watch European soccer–but that’s partly also learning more about the game and how referees manage the game. Partly entertainment and partly learning.

Pope Benedict XVI (What do we call him Friday? Back to Joseph Ratzinger? When you’re not Catholic, it makes for a quandary.) gave a series of talks on the early Church Fathers. Looking at St. Jerome, he quotes:

“It will be difficult for you to correct those things to which you are quietly habituating yourself.”

Those are the most insidious of the habits. You didn’t consciously choose to start that habit. You didn’t consciously choose to keep it up. You just sort of fell into it and then just sort of do it.

But the genius of being human is the power to reflect. If you stop occasionally and look back at your life and habits, you can actually realize what you’re doing and then make that conscious choice to change. To develop a new habit to replace that unconscious one.

What new habit do you need to develop today?

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