We’re creatures of habit. I am, very much. I wake up same time each day, regardless of obligations. I may not get dressed until later, but I wake up same time even Saturday and Sunday, regardless of what time I go to sleep. Lately, since my spouse is away for two weeks (first time that long in my entire marriage), I don’t sleep well. But I wake up same time. Before I go to breakfast before going to work, I load my pockets-wallet, hankerchief, electronics, keys, crucifix. I’m ready. Yesterday, though, I did something unusual which I haven’t had to do since I bought my car. I took my keys out of my pocket at work to open up my Christmas decorations, which were locked safely in my desk cabinet. And left the keys in the lock. And left work without my keys. Even got to my car, and tried to access it, to no avail. All the way, within a mile of my house, and no car keys. And no way to get into my house (otherwise, I’d have walked there and back. I contacted Roadside Assistance, but they couldn’t help because it’s an electronic start. I was told that, if I didn’t have the car towed to a dealership, my warranty was voided. So I got the bus back to the city, ran back to the office to get the keys, and got home-about four hours later than usual. No biggie, since nobody’s home. Just a hassle. I was so used to doing things the same way every day, that the one step I took outside my normal habit went very wrong. Thankfully, it didn’t cost $$$. But it did make me aware of the need to stay alert.
This is true in other areas of my life right now. With the wife gone, it’d be easy for me to stray, back to my old ways. I didn’t ever ‘stray’ per se. I didn’t have an affair. My affair was with myself. I talked about self-indulgence the other day, and when it came to the internet, boy, did I self-indulge. I’ll leave it at that. In the past several days, I’ve seen all sorts of opportunities to do the same thing, and went slightly down the road. There’s a lot of junk on youtube. Very tempted, but my moral compass brought me back to where I need to be. Thanks be to God.
I think it’s important to constantly assess yourself. Catholics call it examination of conscience, and it’s recommended to do it every day, even twice a day. At noon, you should look back at your morning, and see if there’s anything you can do better, and resolve to do it in the afternoon. And then, just before sleeping, as part of your prayers, look back at the day, repent of your sins, even pray the confiteor. And remember to examine your conscience before you go to Confession. One reason frequent Confession is important is because the more you examine yourself, your motivations, and needs/desires, the more you become aware of near occasions of sin. There’s a lot to look at. Internet use, what TV shows and movies do you watch, what about your diet, what about your attitude toward your spouse, your children, your neighbors, those you work with, those you meet on the street, how you drive, how you put others before yourself. Your attitude toward your Father. This is a good time, this Advent, to begin looking inward.