Almost two years ago, I committed my children and I to going to Mass at our parish one extra day a week. Recently, due to the distance, I had been questioning whether or not I could continue doing so during the school year. Last week, I found my answer rereading a passage in a book and it corresponded with what my husband had been encouraging me to do.
"Fidelity is the other great aid of this epoch of the spiritual life. What is meant by it is this. Even although we may not be living under a rule of life, still as a matter of fact the duties and devotions of one day very much resemble those of another. It is practically as if we promised God certain things and a particular round of religious observances: so much so that conscience reproaches us whenever we causelessly intermit any of them. Thus these daily observances come to be a kind of condition of our perseverance. They acquire a sort of sanctity, and become the ordinary channels by which God pours His grace into our souls. The tempter sees all this, and estimates this daily perseverance at its just value. He puts forth all his strength to throw us out of it, and makes us fretful and irregular. He makes it feel heavy to us as a weight of lead. Or he represents it to us as a dangerous formality. Or he reminds us that we are not bound to it either by obedience or by vow. Or he contrives that we should read something that was meant for scrupulous persons, and mistakenly apply it to ourselves. Or he makes us fancy that such regularity is not good for our health. Any pretext will do, so long as he can allure us into unfaithfulness either to the movements of grace or to our routine of spiritual exercises. His anxiety to make us unfaithful is the token to us of the paramount importance of fidelity.
The legitimate decay of our first fervors, when their time was accomplished, has naturally thrown us more upon ourselves. This is an anxious thing, though it was always intended, and must have come sooner or later. But one consequence of it is that it has become more necessary than ever for us to wear a yoke of some kind, and to learn what ascetical writers call the spirit of captivity. This is of great value to us, as it makes all our conquests and acquisitions real, and preserves them for us. Moreover we stand in need of cheerfulness to face the long outstretching desert that lies before us; and nothing keeps alive in us a holy joy more effectually than fidelity to grace and our appointed observances. The sense of wretchedness which follows frequent or habitual laxity drives us to seek consolation from creatures, and to re-enter the world that we may have the pleasure of forgetting ourselves there awhile, and hiding ourselves from the merciful persecution of exciting grace. Besides which the formation of virtuous habits is interrupted by our unfaithfulness, and this weakens our whole position, and makes our future harder, while actual ground also is lost by the intermission. In a word, fidelity is the raw material of perseverance; and to perceive this, is to see that its importance cannot be exaggerated."
Growth in Holiness, p. 37