"The heart down- discouraged at the constant failure in good resolution; so soon disturbed by trifles; so little interior recollection and forgetfulness of His constant presence. The reproaches of disobedience to the little ones much more applicable to myself. So many Communions and confessions with so little fruit often suggest the idea of lessening them- to fly from the fountain while in danger of dying from thirst! But, in a moment, He lifts up the soul from the dust." (St. Elizabeth Ann Seton)Each January brings the fresh hope of a more determined resolve to begin anew one's interior conversion. With a heart still light from the joy of Christmas and the reminder that his Redemption has been won, he strives to smooth the rough edges. Alas, failure greets him all too soon, and he is quickly disheartened by the lack of marked improvement.
Observing the flooded dike, whose holes are too numerous to count, it is tempting to tackle all weaknesses at once. Yet, of course, this is impossible. It is necessary to prayerfully discern the largest aperture; for often, the other fissures in the wall can follow their line back to the initial opening, and so by sealing the primary one, the secondary ones may more easily be mended as well.
When the lacking virtue is discovered, pray for it and practice it! As St. Francis de Sales advised, first detach from the comfort of the habitual sin; it is a disconcerting realization when one discovers that he is not so much attached to the sin, as the pleasure he derives from it. Then, one must go the Source of grace as often as possible in prayer and the Sacraments, and know that even when he does not notice growth in the targeted virtue, he is at least growing in the supreme virtue of humility by acknowledging his fault. If one truly desires to amend, surely Our Lord will grant his ardent prayer.