Or if one loves righteousness,Wisdom 8:7
whose works are virtues,
She teaches moderation and prudence,
righteousness and fortitude,
and nothing in life is more useful than these.
So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love.1 Corinthians 13:13
Living a life of virtue is part of a life lived as a disciple of Jesus Christ, and the virtues aid us in living that life. The virtues give us the ability to step forward into the freedom Christ offers to us. But what is a virtue, and what does a life of virtue look like? Let’s listen to Deacon Dan Leetch give us an introduction.
Virtues and the Growing Disciple: Introduction and the Cardinal Virtues
The Four Cardinal Virtues:
- Prudence – “Prudence disposes reason to discern in every circumstance our true good and to choose the right means for achieving it. Prudence guides the other virtues by pointing out their rule and measure.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 380)
- Justice – “Justice consists in the firm and constant will to give to others their due. Justice toward God is called ‘the virtue of religion.’” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 381)
- Fortitude – “Fortitude assures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It reaches even to the ability of possibly sacrificing one’s own life for a just cause.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 382)
- Temperance – “Temperance moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of the will over instincts and provides balance in the use of created goods.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 383)
The Theological Virtues and the Growing Disciple
The Three Theological Virtues:
- Faith – “Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and all that he has revealed to us and that the Church proposes for our belief because God is Truth itself. By faith the human person freely commits himself to God. Therefore, the believer seeks to know and do the will of God because ‘faith works through charity’ (Galatians 5:6).” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 386)
- Hope – “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire and await from God eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit to merit it and to persevere to the end of our earthly life.” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 387)
- Charity – “Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. Jesus makes charity the new commandment, the fullness of the law. ‘It is the bond of perfection’ (Colossians 3:14) and the foundation of the other virtues to which it gives life, inspiration, and order. Without charity ‘I am nothing’ and ‘I gain nothing’ (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 388)
Which Cardinal Virtue is God calling you to work on growing in right now?
Which Theological Virtue are you going to ask God for an increase of right now?