Getting Out of the Habit

ImageWow! Almost 200 views for my first three blogs, multiple references on other people’s blogs, and a homily given about one of them.  Not too bad for a beginner!  With the school year winding down, I’m looking ahead to the summer more and more.  Home, relaxation, free time to read, and family, to name a few.  This morning, a group of us went out to cheer on another group of Brute seminarians who ran in the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon.  I decided that I would try to run it next year, so this summer I will also begin running (we will see how it goes!)


In my Intro to Theology Class, we attended a Sunday service of a different denomination.  It was an enlightening experience that, to my surprise, I enjoyed greatly.  While sharing our experiences in class, one woman who visited a Catholic Mass stated that she was overwhelmed with much of the symbolism in the church.  The thing she spoke of the most is the fact that Catholic Churches have holy water fonts at the entrances.  She was moved to tears at the idea that as people enter the church physically, they remind themselves through the holy water of their baptism–their spiritual entrance into the Church.  


Another more personal experience happened over Holy Week of this year.  On Holy Friday, there is no mass celebrated, and the main tabernacle is left empty;  in simple terms, no Jesus.  Yet, all of my family genuflected towards the empty box made by men.  I gave my younger brother a hard time about it afterwards, and he acted in the mindset of “what’s the big deal.”


We are creatures of habit.  We do something without thinking of the real reason.  And I am as guilty as any other guy.  How many times do we walk into a church and get our hand wet, bend our knee towards the front of church, without realizing that we should be remembering and giving thanks for our baptism, that we should be acnowledging and honoring our Lord’s substantial presence in the Holy Eucharist?  How many other practices do we do out of habit that have much deeper meaning behind it?


My challenge is for all of you to find the things of habit in your life: the recited prayers without meaning, even going to mass on Sundays.  Change that.  Make it more than habit; make these actions a habit that you put thought into, that you take to prayer, that you realize the true meaning behind them.


I leave you with the first three verses from the hymn “Be Thou My Vision,” a traditional Irish hymn.


Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light. 

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.


In Christ’s Peace,


1 thought on “Getting Out of the Habit

  1. Make the habit into a lifestyle; in the spiritual/religious life, make the lifestyle into a conscious act of recommittal, a conscious act of faith, a conscious act of love…

    Great post! I love your insight into things Mr. Hess!

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