Early Greek View of Virtues
It is important to deal with it now since there are many people battling to overcome entrenched habits and they may find what I have to say helpful. For example, in driving a car, learning a language, playing a musical instrument or engaging in some sport, the more often we do it the better we get at it.
We form habits that facilitate actions. If our acts are morally disordered, like drinking alcohol to excess, indulging in impurity, using bad language, telling lies or gossiping, the more we do these things the more we develop a habit of doing them. On the other hand, when our actions are directed to our true last end and hence are morally good, like praying, being kind and generous or fulfilling our duties, again the more we do them the easier they become.
We form good habits, called virtues, which facilitate good acts.
Let us begin with virtues. Obviously, the more virtues we have and the stronger they are, the easier it is to do good acts, acts which help us to live a life that is pleasing to God and to grow in holiness. So we should do all the good acts we can, since they will form virtues and make successive good acts that much easier. Turning to bad habits or vices, the more vices we have the easier it is to commit sin and the harder it is to do the will of God.
Let us consider two stages.
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In the first, the person willingly carries out the sins and does little or nothing to avoid them. Consider, for example, a person who habitually uses bad language or who engages in sexual activity outside of marriage and makes no effort to avoid it.
Because the person is committing the sins deliberately, they have a greater malice and can be punished more severely by God. If, at a later stage, that person comes to realise how bad those actions are and sincerely repents of them and strives to overcome the habit, inevitably he or she will still fall into some of the bad actions, because of the entrenched habit. But those sins will have less culpability, less guilt before God, precisely because of the habit.
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As long as we are sorry for our bad actions and are sincerely struggling to overcome the habit, there is a reduced culpability for those actions. We may have to struggle all our life to overcome the habit, but as long as we are struggling the sins have less culpability. Routledge , 21 mai - pages.
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