Virtues Part Five: Virtues, Grace & The Holy Spirit
July 29, 2017
The Moral or Cardinal Virtues that we have reviewed this month are developed in those who continue to live out their faith in Jesus Christ. Our efforts to live as a disciple are made fruitful by divine grace; God’s life within us, lifting us, companioning us and giving us the strength and courage to live virtuous lives choosing what is good and avoiding evil. By this grace freely given we learn to make right moral decisions. It is important to recognize that we do not accomplish this on our own; rather we become virtuous people by our continued maturing and deepening of our relationship with God.
“Everyone should always ask for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, cooperate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good and shun evil.” (CCC1811)
We are not born virtuous people and most of us probably would not claim that we are virtuous. But in fact, if we have a relationship with God, that relationship includes knowing Him as our Father, knowing and following the example of His Son, and knowing beyond doubt that He is with us in the Holy Spirit.
In our baptism we received the gift of the Holy Spirit and in the sacrament of Confirmation we received the fullness of the Holy Spirit including the seven gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel or right judgement, fortitude, knowledge, piety or reverence, and fear of the Lord or awe and wonder. Throughout our lives we grow in faith and in understanding of how to engage these gifts and allow them to assist us in sharing God’s love, upholding the faith, and living in love with all of God’s people.
In my work as a Pastoral Associate I have the privilege of visiting and getting to know many elderly parishioners who reflect for me a life lived in faith. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are evident as they share their life stories. What I also see in so many are the fruits of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, generosity, faithfulness, modesty and self-control. They become in the autumn of their lives more peaceful and kind and loving. “The Fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory.” (CCC 1832) God’s plan is beautiful! Fully revealed in Jesus Christ, He bestows on us His grace, divine grace; that we might come to be the people he created us to be. Through Jesus Christ we come to know His incredible love for us and we are drawn to a desire to be more like Him. Let us together pray that God will continue to bless us with His presence in the Holy Spirit that we might be made strong in faith and love and live in hope of attaining eternal glory with Him in heaven. Let us remain aware of our need to depend on God as we aspire to become people of virtue.
“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28.20
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