What you learn young never leaves you

20 January 2018

Whatever actions you get used to doing when you’re young will be the ones that give you pleasure when you’re old, as well, whether they’re good or bad. This is what Saint Gregory says. Did you get used to stealing as a young person? You’ll still find enjoyment in it when you’re older. Even if people are dishonoured, punished and made fools of, they’ll still take pleasure in vice. If you got used to drinking when you were young, you’ll still enjoy getting drunk when you’re old, even if you recognize it’s doing you harm. The same’s true of smoking. Smokers would rather do without food than be deprived of a cigarette. And this is true also of virtues. If you get used to going to church when you’re little, you’ll still be happy to go when you’re old. If you’re used to praying, taking communion, confessing and being charitable, you’ll get the same pleasure when you’re grown up and when you’re old. But wickedness is doubly bad if you learn it as a young person.