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Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives


Virtues Index

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The Virtues
Virtue in general is a firm and habitual disposition to do good; it allows a person not only to perform good actions but, to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends towards the good with all his bodily and spiritual powers. He pursues and chooses this good in the concrete, specific actions of daily life.
The What and Why of Mortification
Mortification, therefore, is self-denial. And self-denial is doing the will of God, even when the Divine will crosses at right angles to our will. Mortification is the imitation of Christ in the surrender of what we naturally like in order to please God.
St. Ignatius' Letter on Obedience: 1553-1953
St. Ignatius' Letter on Obedience which he wrote to the Jesuits in Portugal on March 26, 1553, is justly regarded as "the most admirable of all the letters which came from his pen." In the four centuries since its composition, the letter has been translated into all the major languages in use in modern times. Its teaching is not only "the backbone of the Society of Jesus," but it has become the classic exposition of perfect obedience for most of the religious orders and congregations that have arisen in the Church in the past four hundred years.
Spiritual Reading - Who Needs It?
In order to do some justice to this very practical subject I propose to ask a series of questions and answer them as we go along. My hope is to end up with one good answer to the one question which is the subject of our reflections: spiritual reading---who needs it?
On several dramatic occasions Christ had children brought to Him that He might bless them, embrace them and identify them as models for His followers to imitate. Clearly when Christ identified children as the patterns that we are somehow to pattern our lives on if we are going to be His disciples and even as He tells us, if we are going to be saved, He could not have meant that we are somehow to return to our early childish years…He was identifying as the Scriptures have over the centuries identified, certain qualities of childlikeness that should be for us the paradigm to imitate.
Devotion to the Real Presence and Growth in Sanctity
The Real Presence, because it is a sacrament, confers the grace that is proper to this sacrament. What is the grace? The grace to love. So why is devotion to the Real Presence so important? Because it is especially through faith in the Eucharist that we obtain an increase of the virtue of charity, both towards God and towards our fellow man.
The Virtue of Confidence
I suggest that we reflect on the virtue of confidence. I doubt if there is any single disposition of soul that we need especially in our day more than confidence. The reason is not far to seek. See there is so much to discourage even the most hardy souls, especially people who are seriously trying to serve God. "Lord", we ask Him, "What will happen next?" Or as one Bishop wrote to me quoting the prayer that he regularly addresses to God, "Lord how long, Oh Lord, how long?"
Practice of Penance
The practice of penance is simply living out the virtue. Where the virtue is the divinely endowed power, the practice is our exercising this power. Of course, we still need grace to practice penance, but nobody is going to do it for us. We must practice. God gave us the virtue, but then we have to use the penitential energy received. We must decide that we are sinners and act accordingly.
Holy Eucharist: The Miracle Worker Confirms the Truth of Our Faith
I wish to share with you how the Holy Eucharist is the source of miraculous powers. Christ in the Blessed Sacrament gives us super-human energy by which we can practice the virtues that He expects of His followers. These virtues are beyond the capacity of human nature to perform. For the present, let us limit ourselves to just four virtues: charity, chastity, patience and fortitude.
We are Empowered by God
The theme of this issue of “The Catholic Faith” is on the theological virtues. They are the good habits of mind and will, supernaturally infused into the soul. Their immediate object is God. They are faith, hope, and charity.

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