Virtue, that is, a habit of doing the right thing according to God, has been offensive since the Garden of Eden. Offensive to the devil, that is. Jealous of our loving obedience and the mercy God has for us, he hates goodness and tries to throw us off track at every step. But with the gift of the Sacraments, God makes it pretty easy to pursue virtues like forgiveness, self-control (temperance), and fortitude (courage).
The culture’s being generally Christian has been a big help to growing in virtue—in growing closer to God because we had support from our friends, neighbors, and leaders. But that’s changing now, more or less depending on where we live.
In a pre-papal interview, Pope Benedict XVI envisioned a future Church much smaller, but stronger in faith and virtue. We seem to be experiencing that now and things are changing fast. Virtue, far from being supported by many large institutions, has become in some cases shameful and even illegal.
What do we do if we have “set our face like flint” to follow the truth, who is Jesus Christ, no matter what? My answer is simple: frequent Communion, Confession, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament keep us in that boat with Jesus as the storm rages around us. They keep us away from anger and resentment. They remind us that we can remain loving to everyone in our thoughts and actions and still remain steadfast in the Truth.
Specifically, I trust only inspirations for thought or action that come in Adoration or other prayer. I do not trust inspirations that come while watching the news or reading inflammatory articles. “Forget your rage…it only leads to evil” (Psalm 37:8). Avoiding rage has become a full-time job!
The Pope’s prophecy of small groups keeping each other’s faith, hope, and love alive is a great way to approach the current cultural crisis. If my life is anchored in my parish and my prayer group, for example, then faith in Divine Providence will remain foremost in my mind and heart. The trust that keeps me afloat will not be overwhelmed by the storm of animosity that rages around me from friend and foe alike.
Below is a take on where we are now and how we can nurture our virtue from F. X. Cronin, who wrote a series of articles for CatholicExchange.com on this subject. His series avoids the tone of anger and alarm that such articles often have. Maybe that’s because he keeps in mind that standing up for the truth also means focusing more on letting Christ heal our own sins than on getting upset that others are still sinning.
“Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“Jesus, I trust in You.”
Can Modernity Tolerate a Righteous Catholic Life?
by F.X. Cronin
Top: Image at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/525865693966272706/
Thank you Rose. This was heart felt. I believe in daily prayer. Rosary, Adoration and daily silence with Jesus.
Very thoughtful essay, Rose. Community to me has meant different places and people at different times. I find that when I am “between places,” it is much easier for rage’s cousins, fear and anxiety, to take up residence in me. Virtue and faith were nurtured in communities of two or more even during the Roman persecutions, even amid plague outbreaks, even amid the Holocaust. With God’s help, may we do the same today.
You’ve reminded me of Jesus’ promise that when two or three are gathered in his name, he is present. And of what he said to the apostles in the stormy boat: “Fear not, it is I.” Yes, getting together with just one other person makes Jesus present — and he has already conquered the world.
This is an excellent reminder this morning Rose. Thank you for sharing and staying steadfast on the path with Christ! ❤️🙏🏼
Like you I plan, with God’s help, to be among those who persevere to the end! :)
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Cronin’s article is so “on the mark” as to how our Catholic faith teaches us to live a virtuous life vs. the worldly view. It’s easy to be swayed by this worldly view or drawn into the turmoil. However, if we stay close to God’s words, practice the sacraments and pray continually, we can faithfully walk the right path and keep our eyes fixed on our Heavenly reward!
Thanks for sharing! Love your picture on your nature walk! It’s the little things like that, that are so important and keep us grounded by being surrounded by God’s beauty and serenity. ❤️
How awesome a lot of people would not have seen the same thing that you saw or in that way. Thanks — Pauline
Yes, a smaller church. I devote an hour, and another if necessary, to Eucharistic Adoration each Tuesday. When two or three are gathered in his name; well two anyway. It’s time on his agenda, not mine . . . always better.