True Happiness Begins with Virtue

     The Virtues are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  When we obtain the virtues through our own efforts and desires, we begin the process of becoming like God.

The Church has divided the virtues into two classifications:

  1. The Human Virtues, which are called the Cardinal Virtues.
  2. The Theological Virtues.
There are four Cardinal Virtues:
  1. Prudence
  2. Justice
  3. Fortitude
  4. Temperance
Prudence is our ability to determine true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of obtaining it.  Prudence is right reason in action.  It guides the judgment of conscience.  It guides the other virtues and gives us the ability to apply moral principles to achieve good and avoid evil.

Justice is the firm moral desire to give God and neighbor their just due.  Justice toward God is called the Virtue of Religion.  Justice toward men requires us to respect the rights of others and to establish relationships with them that promotes the common good.  The just person is distinguished by habitual right thinking and uprightness toward one's neighbor at all times.

As the Bible has says: Col 4:1 - "Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you have a master in heaven."  This applies to all individuals in their treatment towards others.

Your place in eternity (Heaven/Purgatory or Hell) will be determined in how well you learn this virtue.

Fortitude is the moral virtue that gives one the inner strength and firmness in difficulties to continue the pursuit of the common good.

It gives us the strength to resist temptations and to over-come obstacles in one's moral life.  It enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face persecution.  It gives one the ability to sacrifice one's life in defending a just cause, as so many Saints and religious have done, which spreads the faith.

Temperance is the moral virtue that provides balance in the attraction of worldly goods and pleasures.  By control over one's instincts, you can keep desires within honorable limits.  A temperate person directs his desires, which come from the heart and not from earthly temptations, toward what is good.

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one's heart and with all one's soul and with all one's effort. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)

The Theological Virtues

Faith is the theological virtue by which one believes in God and all that He has revealed to us, by what He has said and through His Holy Church.

By faith, one must totally and freely commit their entire self to God.  Those with true faith prove this through works of charity.  Service and witnessing to Christ and to the One True Church are necessary for salvation.

Hope is the theological virtue in which we totally desire the Kingdom of Heaven and an eternal life of happiness with God.  We know that this will be our gift by loving, honoring and serving God.

Heaven is obtainable, not by our own strength, but by the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.  Hope keeps one from discouragement and sustains us during times of abandonment.  Buoyed up by hope, we are preserved from selfishness and led to happiness.

Christian hope begins with Jesus preaching the Beatitudes.  This is the weapon that protects us in the struggle for salvation.

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for His sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God.  Jesus makes charity the new commandment, the fullness of The Law.

It is the foundation of the other virtues.  It is the bond of perfection.  If I have not charity, I have nothing and I gain nothing.  With charity, I have life and inspiration.

God's loving gifts are Faith, Hope and Charity.  The greatest of these is Charity.  The fruits of charity are joy, peace and mercy.  It is friendship and communion.
The Gifts of the Holy Spirit
  1. Wisdom
  2. Understanding
  3. Counsel
  4. Fortitude
  5. Knowledge
  6. Piety
  7. Fear of the Lord

They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them.

The Holy Catholic Church lists twelve fruits of the Holy Spirit.  They are charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control and chastity.