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51. The Cause of Habits

1. Human nature itself, that is, the operating essence of man, may be said to form certain habits inasmuch as it is disposed for them and needs them for smooth and prompt operation. Likewise, an individual man's temperament or disposition may tend to develop habits in him; these may be called natural habits. Thus we speak of one man as naturally self-possessed and of another man as naturally quick tempered.

2. Certain operative habits are formed in a man by repeated acts. In this way, for instance, a man develops a virtue or contracts a vice. Thus, too, a mechanical skill can be developed, even to such a degree as to be called "almost asecond nature."

3. Habits are regularly the product of repeated acts, not of one or two acts but of very many. A man has not the habit (or virtue) of generosity because he has made a few gifts to the poor; nor is a man said to have the habit (or vice) of drunkenness because of a single act of overindulgence in drink.

4. Some habits are not acquired by repeated acts, but are infused by almighty God. These are supernatural habits or virtues. Scripture mentions such habits, as, for example, in the statement (Ecclus. 15:5), "God filled him with the spirit of wisdom and understanding."

"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"We must not be behind time in doing good; for death will not be behind his time. "
St Phillip Neri

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"The name of Jesus, pronounced with reverence and affection, has a kind of power to soften the heart. "
St Philip Neri

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