She picks up the dress and slips it on, sliding it down over the stained orange jumper she wore through the enclosure door. She lifts the veil onto her head, covering a tattered woolen hat. The veil snags on her mismatched earrings, but never mind. She’ll get used to all of this, in time.
Certainly the scene I've just described is ridiculous. But let us consider this....“Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12). I look at these and other virtues and find myself desiring to “wear” them. Yet if I make deliberate choices to boast as I pretend to be humble, or if I'm cruel even as I write of mercy, I am simply hiding one kind of clothing under another. I’m applying a layer of veneer. I am in need of a habit exchange.
Habits are actions acquired over a period of time, with repetition.
Am I willing to turn in my habit of laziness in exchange for diligence in prayer?
For me it remains a constant struggle, and I take heart in knowing I am not the only person to have faced it. “I cannot even understand my own actions,” wrote the apostle Paul. “I do not do what I want to do but what I hate… what a wretched man I am! Who can deliver me from this body under the power of death? All praise to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 8:15-25)
I pray to cast off my threadbare, tattered vices and see them as the worthless rags they are. I want to outgrow them, and to - through prayer and practice – develop habits of virtue.
I pray to be clothed in the habits of a cloistered heart.
"Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another, forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you. Over all these virtues put on love, which binds the rest together and makes them perfect." (Colossians 3:12-14)
“Do you see how little it takes to become a saint? All that is necessary is acquiring the habit of wanting to do the will of God at all times.” (St. Vincent de Paul)
“Clothe me, O eternal Truth, clothe me with yourself, that I may run my mortal course with true obedience and the light of holy faith…” (St. Catherine of Siena)
“I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for he has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice.” (Isaiah 61:10)
"You must put on the armor of God if you are to resist on the evil day; do all that your duty requires, and hold your ground. Stand fast, with the truth as the belt around your waist, justice as your breastplate, and zeal to propagate the gospel of peace as your footgear. In all circumstances, hold faith up before you as your shield, it will help you extinguish the fiery darts of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, the word of God." (Ephesians 6:13-17)
all paintings on this post in US public domain due to age
For more about 'my habit,' click this line