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How to prevent yourself from falling back into bad habits

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Shutterstock | Pheelings-media

Philip Kosloski - published on 02/13/21

If you want to empty your life of bad habits, you need to replace them with good ones.

Often we will identify a bad habit or sin in our lives that we want to stop. We may even be successful in eliminating it for a few days.

However, soon enough we fall back into that bad habit and it may even be worse than before!

One of the reasons why this happens is because we did not replace a sin with a virtue, a bad habit with a good one.

Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew explains what happens.

When an unclean spirit goes out of a person it roams through arid regions searching for rest but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my home from which I came.’ But upon returning, it finds it empty, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and brings back with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they move in and dwell there; and the last condition of that person is worse than the first. (Matthew 12:43-45)

This passage explains that when a demon is expelled from someone, if it returns to the person’s soul and finds it empty, the demon will easily re-enter that person’s life.

In the commentary on this passage in Catena Aurea, the Church Fathers affirm this reality.

For when any one is converted to the faith, the Devil is cast out of him in Baptism, who driven thence wanders up and down through the dry places, that is, the hearts of the faithful. And returning to his house whence he had gone out, he finds it empty, of good works through slothfulness, swept, that is, of its old vices by Baptism, and garnished with feigned virtues through hypocrisy. (Rabanus)

The key is to replace those vices, sins, and bad habits with virtues and good habits.

Then, when we are tempted again, instead of finding an “empty” house, it will be “full” of virtues and there will be no room for evil.


SAINT JOSEPH

Read more:
6 Virtues of St. Joseph that all men can imitate


SEVEN VIRTUES

Read more:
Struggling with sin? Practice the opposing virtue

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