To the Catholic Sentinel:

“I can resist anything but temptation,” said Oscar Wilde. “I do not do what I want, but I do what I hate,” said St. Paul. Whether we call it weakness of will or lacking self-control, we have all had the experience of knowing what is right, yet doing what is wrong.

Scientists studying weakness of will recommend several remedies that can help anyone struggling with temptation. Christians hoping to be more faithful in living out their vocation can learn much from this research.  

Researchers found that we can prepare for success in moments of temptation by strengthening our willpower before the occasion arises. Researchers also found that physical exercise is a willpower miracle. In another finding, researchers point to a link between external order and internal strength. Scientists also discovered four willpower drainers: sleep deprivation, poor nutrition, alcohol consumption and stress.  

Many people do not relieve stress as much as they distract themselves from it.  

Willpower is contagious and communal. We are much more likely to succeed if we join a group that is struggling with the same willpower challenge. Willpower is something every Christian needs, and contemporary science can help us. To know the right thing is wonderful. To do the right thing is even better.

Christopher Kaczor
Los Angeles