EWTN News

Discipline - What is it and how to acquire it?
July 30, 2019
by staff
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Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Hebrews 12:10-11

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

Interview with Ray Guarendi

by Lori Hadacek Chaplin

National Catholic Register

February 26, 2012

Why does doing something that is not in one’s spiritual comfort zone strengthen self-discipline?

It’s like lifting weights; everybody gravitates towards the exercises they’re best at. Your body is structured a certain way, so some exercises are more suited to you. But if you want to be completely fit, you have to go after those exercises you don’t necessarily like because they’re not as easy.

For spiritual exercise, you may love to read your Bible. You go up to your room and read for hours. That is all fine and good, but that doesn’t take much discipline; it’s something you prefer. The question always has to be asked: “Am I doing this to get closer to God or is this the easiest way for me personally?”

How do I move beyond good intentions and follow through?

We have a mantra in the weight room: “Just show up.” Many people wait until they feel like doing something before they do it. The rule is this: If you want to get good at doing something, never wait until you feel like doing it. If you do that, you won’t do it three-quarters of the time. I’ve lifted weights for 40 years; I can count on one hand the number of times I felt like lifting weights. You develop willpower by just showing up.

Practical Steps for Obtaining Discipline

Put one foot in front of the other. Half of self-discipline is not thinking about it.

Don’t let lapse lead to relapse lead to collapse. A lapse is only a lapse. If you fail, so what? Don’t say, “I knew I couldn’t do it!” Relapse doesn’t mean collapse.

You can do anything time-limited [setting a time limit for that particular activity]. [If] you’re doing a six-week spiritual workout, it doesn’t mean you have to go at the same intensity after [you are done] — but maybe you will.

 

“Discipline is a bridge between goal and accomplishment.”

Quote occasionally said by Mother Teresa

“Renounce yourself in order to follow Christ. Discipline your body. Do not pamper yourself but love fasting.”

St Benedict