AdVice on Virtue
Our esteemed pastor, Father Joseph Daniels, delivered a homily last Sunday, which I felt should best be shared. Intended for support of our regional Catholic School, he identified five virtues that marked a ‘person of strong faith’. Is that not what we want for ourselves and our children–a strong faith?
Each of us, the families of MARCH, are operating as a Catholic school, however tiny. I know that this short list will be of interest to you. I received permission from Father to reprint a portion of the homily for you:
“Virtues that are common to people of strong faith:…
- Gratitude: people of faith recognize that they have been chosen for a purpose in life that is uniquely their own. They have been blessed by the Lord and are always thankful.
- Courage: men and women of faith have the strength of character to hold firm to what they believe. They have the will to persevere when their goals are hard to attain.
- Trust in God: We call on this virtue when things are uncertain and we are not sure of the outcome of our efforts.
- Humility: there is a wonderful line in the movie “Rudy”. The main character, an aspiring student, questions Father Joyce, a longtime athletic direct at Notre Dame, as to whether his studies will land him a place in the University. Father Joyce responds, ‘After so many years of priesthood, I am certain of only two things: one, that there is a God, and two, I am not He.” Humble people of faith recognize this distinction.
- Service: the love of charity accompanies faith and it is expressed in the will to serve.”
“What a wonderful year so far!”, I thought as I reviewed this list. Our tiny Catholic schools, usually operating from our kitchen tables, have lived out these virtues with one another and in the community at large. We have put our trust in God and been grateful for the opportunity to teach our children at home. We found the courage to venture out and be of service to folks in the community who needed a little extra love and attention. Most importantly, we have learned what it means to be humble and put ourselves last, taking as our teachers 1) the saints we have studied and 2) actual experience as we work with the homeless and the elderly. The children and adults alike have grown in all the above mentioned virtues by simply trusting in God every step of the way.
You will note that there are some overlaps with the Seven Heavenly Virtues (chastity, abstinence, liberality, diligence, patience, kindness, humility). And that’s okay. If you study the list of Five above, those virtues that are not identical (i.e. humility) are closely interwoven with the original Seven, and spring from them.
Here are more virtues to think about: faith, hope, love of God, love of neighbor, obedience, truthfulness, industry, piety, mercy, courage, joy, generosity, prudence, wisdom, justice, loyalty, perseverance, orderliness, self-control, patience, and fortitude. I am sure there are many more, but the important thing is to learn about the virtues and live them out in our daily lives. It never hurts to ruminate on the subject of virtues. Let’s create awareness in our children’s lives by talking with them openly about these virtues and setting a good example.
May our efforts to lead our children be fruitfully blessed.