Simple Steps To Breaking Habitual Sins Of The Flesh
We all know that we are weak. Our enemies: the demons, the flesh and the world are at our sides continuously. So we need help to stay in God's grace and out of sin. Here are some suggestions to practice to stop sinning, stay out of sin and to grow in holiness.
1) Prayer: Pray anyway and anyhow that will keep you from sinning. All day long, we attempt to shoot arrows of communication with God no matter if we are working, eating, driving, sitting, kneeling or talking. It is a constant attempt to keep all we do in union with God. We also need to develop a habit of prayer that automatically comes into action as soon as we are being tempted.
2) Mortification of the body: Instead of always giving what the body wants, food, rest, comfort, music, sweets, pleasure, we need to have some mortification of what it wants every day in small ways. Fasting and abstinence are important disciplines that train the will to say "No" to the body and "Yes" to God.
3) Make use of God's graces: Frequent confessions and Holy Communion give graces and strength to weak souls and wills. In confession be very humble, sorrowful and honest as to the gravity of your sins even if it is embarrassing to say. Never hold anything back.
4) Devotion to the Virgin Mary: Mary is the mediatrix of all graces coming from God. If we run to her in time of temptation, "No one has ever invoked her in his necessity without being heard" (Saint Bernard). She is virginal purity and wants to help us stay pure. Say Hail Marys until the strong temptation passes. It may literally take hundreds a day, but it is worth it.
5) Avoid the occasion of sin: Whatever leads up to sinning must be avoided like the plague. The time, the way and the place are all to be cautiously considered and avoided if they lead to sinning. Anyone who talks about sin, shows sin or encourages sin is your enemy, not your friend. St. Jerome said: "Remember that a woman (Eve) drove out the inhabitants of paradise, and that you are not holier than David, not stronger than Samson, or wiser than Solomon, who all fell by evil intercourse."
6) Custody of the eyes: Pious Job made a covenant with his eyes that he would not so much as look at a virgin. Our eyes lead to thoughts that then can lead to actions. Look away from what will cause lust.
7) Keep busy: Many saints made vows never to live in idleness. That is a great idea and allows one to do great things with one's life. "Idle hands are the devils workshop".
8) Hell: Remember the consequences of past sins and the possibility of being damned forever for these sins. Meditate on the reality of death, judgment, heaven or hell. Go over in detail the torture of hell for the instantaneous pleasures obtained through sin.
9) Avoid Depression: Remember how sad the separation from God feels after sinning. Remember the guilt the shame and sadness caused by these sins. Would you like the whole world to be watching you sin? God, Mary, your guarding angel are watching every detail. And in the second coming of Jesus, all will be made public.
10) Help other people to stop sinning. As we try to save our own souls with God's help, we must also live to save others souls. It is easier to live a good life if we are helping others live holier lives too. Be prophets today to tell people sin is still sin and they offend and crucify Our Lord when they sin.
May God, Mary and all the saints be our example of a pure and holy life. We are so fortunate to be traditional Catholics and to have all this help from God to live pure lives.
Source: Father Peter Carota. Courageous priest.