Say not: "Great is his mercy;
my many sins he will forgive."
For mercy and anger alike are with him;
upon the wicked alights his wrath.
Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
put it not off from day to day.
Have you noticed how hard it is to start a new habit? And how easy it is to start a bad one? Have you noticed how hard it is to kick a bad habit, and how easy it is to forget a good one?
I think that sad predicament is one facet of concupiscence. We are fascinated by evil, and less interested in virtue. Why that should be I do not know. It doesn't matter. There it is. Deal with it.
I meet this mystery almost daily in the VA as Veterans tell me they will certainly quit smoking now. Dyspnea of even a few minutes is distressing; when it goes on for hours it's terrifying. Gasping for breath, half-blind with asphyxiation, even the inveterate smoker swears off the habit with a mighty oath. After three days in the hospital they often boast they've been three days without a cigarette. "I'll never smoke again!" Until they leave the hospital. Before the day is over they've picked it up again.
A habit is developed and maintained with every repetition. You cannot say, "I'll quit tomorrow!" as you light up today. It doesn't work that way.
Jesus ben Sirach in the Book of Ecclesiasticus urges his readers, "Delay not your conversion to the Lord; put it not off from day to day."
Every repetition of a habit is done in the immediate now and reinforces the habit. Tomorrow is this moment. Avoiding God's benevolent kindness, ignoring his presence and choosing one's desires over God's will in this moment is decisive.
That's not to say I should be praying all the time. Our life must be a balance of work and prayer, eating, exercise, resting, recreation and study, conversation and contemplation. Christians do all this in God's immediate presence. Just as a devoted husband abides in the presence of his wife even if she is on the other side of the globe, so do we live with the awareness of God's mercy. That awareness governs our decisions in every moment, including the decisions to practice good habits and forget the bad ones.
Many Americans have been fascinated by eastern spirituality and have studied yoga awareness. It's great stuff. A Christian's awareness begins with the assurance of God's personal presence. We "fear" offending God's goodness in the same way that we stand up when a senator, judge or bishop enters the room. It is an honor to be in such august presence. That awareness of God's majesty governs the life of grace; it leads away from the tragedy of bad habits.