Virtue is built primarily through the graces of God in prayer. But it also comes from spiritual reading and study. In this post, we look a breakdown of virtues as compiled from the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC).
A series of posts will follow in the coming weeks and months which looks deeper at each of these virtues and how they relate to Catholic blogging. For now, just a list.
Article 7 of Part 3:1:1 of the CCC is on The Virtues:
1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. the virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.
"The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God". (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De beatitudinibus, 1: PG 44, 1200D.)
Virtues are broken down as follows in the CCC:
We will not limit our discussion to the actual virtues, but also to the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. The fruits, for example, are a kind of measuring stick. If all that we do is truly coming through the Holy Spirit, then others should observe in us, these fruits. We should pray to our Guardian Angel, that we are enlightened with observing these fruits in ourselves, most especially where we exhibit the opposite. It is through this kind of examination of conscience upon which we grow in holiness, especially when we use the Sacrament of Confession and receive graces accordingly.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
- Fear of the Lord
Fruits of the Holy Spirit
We ought to constantly measure our words against this list of fruits. How can we feel good about a post we make with new knowledge, if in that post we exhibit unkindness or lack gentleness? It does not mean that the new knowledge is wrong, but that we have work to do in the virtue department in order to be more effective.
Christ did not teach with a verbal baseball bat. There were very rare times that Our Lord showed anger or used firm speech. Angry and terse language, not to mention foul language, exhibits a desire to control others. Jesus respected the free will of others and used gentleness and kindness to teach. He put the message out for those willing to use faith and reason to follow and left others in their stubborness without making a scene.
Like Christ, Pope Benedict XVI, used gentleness and kindness in delivering his message of hope here in the United Statues. He did not avoid difficult matters, but went after them ever mindful of the dignity of those to whom his message is directed. He showed how effective this approach can be and we should work to emulate it.
I look forward to exploring the virtues, and the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit in detail with you. I hope to dig deep into the writings of the Church fathers, doctors and saints to see what kinds of quotable gems we may find. Feel free to contribute other resources in the combox, along with your personal experience and commentaries that may assist others, including me, in becoming more virtuous Catholic bloggers.