Habits are one of the most influential governing
factors of our existence. Our actions, our
responses, the decisions we make, the way
we live our life are all largely dictated
by our habits.
In fact, any behavior that I repeat,
If I repeat it often enough, it becomes
Soon I don't even think about it. I
When the western U.S. was being settled,
roads were often just wagon tracks.
rough trails posed serious problems
who journeyed on them. On one of these
paths was posted a sign which read:
this rut or you'll be in it for the
Habits are hard to crack. There was
one night at a convent and several
lived on the fourth floor were trapped.
could only think of one way to get
take off their robes, tie them together
climb down to safety. Later as they
recounting the event to reporters,
asked if they were afraid that the
rope might not hold up. "Oh, no,"
they said, "Old habits are hard
There are good habits. "Philip
wrote of the little village of Le Chambon
in France, a town whose people, during
Second World War hid their Jews from
Nazis. This was very dangerous. If
they would be killed. Haille went there,
wondering what sort of courageous heroes
could risk so much to do such extraordinary
good. He interviewed people in the
and was surprised by their ordinariness.
They weren't heroes or smart, discerning
people. The one factor that united
he discovered, was their attendance,
after Sunday, at their little church,
they heard the sermons of their priest.
time, they became by habit a people
knew what to do. When it came time
to be courageous, the day the Nazis
to town, they quietly did what was
One old woman, who faked a heart attack
the Nazis came to search her house,
said, 'The pastor always taught us
comes a time in every life when a person
is asked to do something for Jesus.
our time came, we knew what to do.'
Then there are bad habits. A Spanish
says: "Habits are first cobwebs,
cables." Bad habits first entice,
then ensnare like a cobweb. And if
in the behavior, the web grows stronger
can be as difficult to break as a steel
This author recounts, "On a road
far from my home are some trees that
slowly being destroyed by huge coils
The vines wind themselves like snakes
the trunk. At this point it is impossible
to untwist these runners because they
so firmly embedded into the trees.
literally strangling the life out of
helpless giants. But there was a day
the ivy was a small plant just seeking
little support in climbing. Had the
resisted these tiny tendrils, they
not be in the state they are in now."
You are what your habits are. So, form
habits you want and let them mold you
the person you want to be.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission
granted for any non-commercial use,
that the content is unaltered from
state, if this copyright notice is