Sunday, August 10, 2008

Heroic Virtue III

St. Monica with her son St. Augustine of Hippo, whom God converted through her mother's perseverance in prayer for the conversion of his life of dissipation and heresy. When I think of models of heroic virtue, St. Monica always shines forth in my mind.

The few who become saints in this life are the heroes of virtue, the candidates for the honors of the altar, the saints on earth -who become the canonized saints of heaven after death.

Together with the four cardinal virtues the Christian saint must be endowed with the three theological virtues, especially with Divine charity, the virtue which informs, baptizes, and consecrates, as it were, all other virtues; which unifies them into one powerful effort to participate in the Divine life. Found in the Church's exhaustive investigation, the "proofs of heroicity" are required in the process of beatification.

As charity stands at the summit of all virtues, so faith stands at their foundation. For by faith God is first apprehended, and the soul lifted up to supernatural life. Faith is the secret of one's conscience; to the world it is made manifest by the good works in which it lives, "Faith without works is dead" (James 2:2). Such works are:

1. The external profession of faith

2. Strict observance of the Divine commands

3. Prayer

4. Filial devotion to the Church

5. The fear of God

6. The horror of sin

7. Penance for sins committed

8. Patience in adversity

All or any of these attain the grade of heroicity when practiced with unflagging perseverance, during a long period of time, or under circumstances so trying that by them men of but ordinary perfection would be deterred from acting. Martyrs dying in torments for the Faith, missionaries spending their lives in propagating it, the humble poor who with infinite patience drag out their wretched existence to do the will of God and to reap their reward hereafter, these are heroes of the Faith.

Read the list above, read them again, copy them down and post them where you can see them every day, study them, strive to live them, pray to God to help you attain each and every one. If you lack the strength, the courage, even the will - ask God for these things as well. He will order all things unto your sainthood if you ask Him too. It is His holy will that we all become saints. Amen+

Excerpts taken from Catholic Encyclopedia

No comments: