instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Thirty Days to a Holier Thou

I had the phrase "Thirty Days to a Holier Thou" in my notes for today's RCIA class -- which, of course, has become a mystagogy class now that all the confirmandi have become neophytes. I wish I had spoken the phrase out loud; it's the sort of thing someone might remember an hour later, and it certainly couldn't have gone over any worse than the "invisible car" metaphor for the gifts of the Holy Spirit ("if you use it, you'll see that you're getting where you want to go, but you won't really be sure how"). (And let us not mention the traditional Catholic greeting to the newly received, "Welcome aboard, now start bailing," complete with visual aid of a milk jug cut out for use as a bailer.)

In any case, the purpose of this post is just to get "Thirty Days to a Holier Thou" into Internet search engines, so I can feel like I've contributed something to the world (if not to my parish's mystagogia class). I suppose I should explain the phrase, which may not be self-explanatory for those who aren't regular readers of Disputations (I believe we're down to about three now):
  • A virtue is a good habit.
  • A habit is a disposition to act in a certain way. Being disposed to act in a certain way makes it easier for you to choose to act that way.
  • You acquire a habit by repeatedly choosing to act in the way the habit disposes you to act.
  • Roughly speaking, if you repeatedly choose to act in the way a habit disposes you to act for thirty straight days, you will have acquired the habit.
  • Therefore, you are, today -- and for any value of "today" -- only thirty days away from acquiring most any habit.
  • Therefore, you are, at any time, thirty days away from acquiring most any virtue.
  • If you do want to acquire a virtue, a good habit, don't neglect daily prayer to God to strengthen both the daily choosing of the acts and the growth of the virtue in you.