Some of our best habits began when we were very young. Our parents often tried to instill good habits in us, but sometimes they needed some help. And for those of us in Catholic Schools, there were wonderful teachers who often help our parents instill good habits.
If you happened to have teachers who were Sisters, instilling good habits in their charges was often one of things they focused on. And when I say focus, I mean focus!
The Sisters were human beings like the rest of us, but many unapologetically sought a kind of perfection in their own life and habits. When the sisters had young children in front of them, they often saw it as their duty to help us along.
Certainly, one of the things the Sisters helped us along with was our prayer life. We would commit to memory several important prayers. We would learn them, line by line in class and practice their recitation. We would say some in the morning as we started our school day, say some at lunch and some at the end the day at school. We were also asked to pray at home (many of us were encouraged by our parents at this as well). As we got older, many of us were encouraged to think about our day right before we lay down to sleep and consider those things we needed improvement on. And then we might wrap things up with an Act of Contrition.
If you have a little age on you, like me, your prayer life can help you feel a little more confident that you are doing what you should be doing. I always found it comforting to pray on the way to work. As my commute was getting longer and longer, I found prayer would help me settle down and ease my anxiety. When I found myself at a certain crossroads where I needed to spend more time exercising or pay the consequences, I found my beads made it more natural and helpful. About 20 or more years ago, I took to wearing a scapular again. It gives me a lot of comfort and reminds me of Our Lady and my humble presence in front of God. I dusted off some old religious pictures of the Sacred Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I hung them up in my office. I had lost track of our childhood devotion to Mary especially in the month of May. I created a May Altar again after all these many years.
None of these things are difficult. They are all little things that Sisters would have expected of us many years ago.