“Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and not do what I say?”
– Luke 6:46 (JB)
Jesus asks me to act in a way consistent with being Christian
and not to make any separation
between the faith we profess and the way we live:
"What matters is not whether or not we wear a religious habit;
it is whether we try to practice the virtues
and surrender our will to God
and order our lives as His Majesty ordains,
and not want to do our will but His." (St Teresa of Avila)
Do I truly embrace and accept Christ’s teachings
and am I prepared to persevere, at all costs, to put them into practice?
“Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and not do what I say?”
Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus?
Do I spend ‘quality time’ with Him?
Do I really know what He teaches?
Do I read and refer to His Gospels constantly,
as I ask Him to change me and strengthen my faith and resolve,
that I may obey Him whatever the circumstance
and whatever the consequence?
Do I embrace and seek to “practice the virtues”?
THE VIRTUES…from the Catechism of the Catholic Church…
"Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, 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." 1
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. 2
Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will
that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith.
They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life.
The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.
The moral virtues are acquired by human effort.
They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts;
they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.
Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called "cardinal"; all the others are grouped around them.
They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.
"If anyone loves righteousness, [Wisdom’s] labours are virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice, and courage." 3
These virtues are praised under other names in many passages of Scripture.
Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance
and to choose the right means of achieving it;
"the prudent man looks where he is going." 4
"Keep sane and sober for your prayers." 5
Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. 6
It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation.
It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues);
it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure.
It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience.
The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment.
With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error
and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid.
Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbour.
Justice toward God is called the ‘virtue of religion.’
Justice toward men disposes one to respect the rights of each
and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.
The just man, often mentioned in the Sacred Scriptures,
is distinguished by habitual right thinking and the uprightness of his conduct toward his neighbour.
"You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour." 7
"Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven." 8
Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.
It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life.
The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death,
and to face trials and persecutions.
It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defence of a just cause.
"The Lord is my strength and my song." 9
"In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." 10
Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.
It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts
and keeps desires within the limits of what is honourable.
The temperate person directs the sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy discretion:
"Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking according to the desires of your heart." 11
Temperance is often praised in the Old Testament:
"Do not follow your base desires, but restrain your appetites." 12
In the New Testament it is called "moderation" or "sobriety."
We ought "to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world." 13
To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts;
from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted (through temperance).
No misfortune can disturb it (and this is fortitude).
It obeys only [God] (and this is justice),
and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery (and this is prudence). 14
1 Phil 4:8; 2 St. Gregory of Nyssa; 3 Wis 8:7; 4 Prov 14:15; 5 1 Pet 4:7; 6 St. Thomas Aquinas; 7 Lev 19:15; 8 Col 4:1; 9 Ps 118:14; 10 Jn 16:33; 11 Sir 5:2; cf. 37:27-31; 12 Sir 18:30; 13 Titus 2:12; 14 St. Augustine.
REPETITIVE PRAYER FOR TODAY…
Jesus, my Lord, grant me temperance and prudence, justice, and courage
that I may always demonstrate my love for You by acting as You want me to.