Virtues Catholic Teachings: A Guide to Living a Holy Life

Discover the roots of Catholic virtue in this insightful video. Learn about the Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity, and the Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.

The Foundations of Catholic Virtue

Catholic virtue is rooted in a steadfast commitment to live by both the Theological and Cardinal Virtues, which are foundational to the moral life envisioned by the Catholic Church.

The Theological Virtues

Faith, hope, and charity are the three Theological Virtues that orient Catholics toward God. Faith is a theological virtue by which individuals believe in God and accept as truth everything that God has revealed and the Catholic Church proposes for belief.

It embodies a habitual and firm disposition to adhere to the belief in and obedience to God.

Hope is the theological virtue through which one desires the kingdom of heaven and eternal life, trusting not in one’s own strength, but in the promises of Christ and the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Charity, or love, is the greatest theological virtue.

It means loving God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbors as ourselves for the love of God.

The practice of charity increases the virtuosity of the soul and reflects a commitment to living as Scripture suggests, in sincere gift to others.

The Cardinal Virtues

The Cardinal Virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance are pivotal to living a virtuous life.

Prudence is the virtue that allows one to discern the most appropriate way to achieve the good in each circumstance.

It involves practical reasoning that guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure.

Justice is steadfastness in giving to others what is due to them.

It often involves creating and fostering relationships that are fair, equal, and balanced.

Fortitude is the moral virtue that provides steadfastness and courage in the face of moral challenges and difficulties.

It bolsters the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life.

Temperance is the virtue that moderates the attraction to 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 honorable.

The habitual and firm disposition to live by these virtues shapes the character of a Catholic and is integral to their identity in faith.

Living a Virtuous Life

In the realm of Catholic teaching, virtues form the framework for a morally good life, aligning actions with the moral law imparted by God.

This section explores the significance of human virtues in guiding moral conduct and the essential struggle to overcome vice and sin through grace and practice.

Human Virtues and Moral Conduct

The human virtues are stable dispositions of the intellect and will that regulate our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith.

They are acquired by repeated practice and education, and are rooted in the cardinal virtues, which are prudence, justice, fortitude (or courage), and temperance (or moderation).

  • Prudence: the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern, in every circumstance, the true good and choose the right means for achieving it.
  • Justice: the constant and firm will to give their due to God and neighbor.
  • Fortitude: the virtue that ensures firmness in difficulty and constancy in the pursuit of the good.
  • Temperance: moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.

The theological virtuesfaith, hope, and charity — inform and give life to the cardinal virtues.

Through these virtues, individuals are empowered to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity.

Overcoming Vice and Sin

Opposing the virtues are the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath (anger), and sloth.

They are known for engendering other sins and vices.

Catholics are called to combat these sins with the corresponding seven capital virtues: humility, generosity, chastity, kindness, abstinence, patience, and diligence.

Catholics believe that the grace of God, which is a free and undeserved help that God gives, is essential to overcome sin.

Through God’s grace, individuals can cultivate virtues and practice moral restraint, displaying self-control and patience. Education in the faith and the example of Jesus Christ are seen as paths to embolden the spirit against the temptations of vice, leading to true joy and happiness.

The Practice of Spiritual Growth

Virtues Catholic Teachings: A Guide to Living a Holy Life - Beautiful Bible - Bible Verses for Inspiration and Guidance

The journey of spiritual growth within the Catholic faith emphasizes a holistic transformation, aligning one’s actions and virtues with the life in Christ.

This process involves the individual and the community, fostering personal virtues and practicing good acts with diligence and compassion.

Virtue in the Community

In Catholicism, the community plays a crucial role in an individual’s spiritual development. Good acts such as charity and service are seen as manifestations of a morally good life, encouraging believers to engage in good works that reflect Christian moral life.

The sacraments, like Baptism, serve as milestones and supports in this journey, offering grace and spiritual strength.

Furthermore, the principles of ethics, as discussed by philosophers like Plato, are adapted and deepened through the teachings of the Church.

The community, guided by theology and a sense of concord, promotes friendship and responsibility, often contrasting with the capital sins like wrath and avarice, and instead fostering the seven heavenly virtues.

Cultivation of Personal Virtues

Personal virtues are foundational to Catholic spiritual growth. Diligence, kindness, humility, and a measured sobriety in all areas of life contribute to shaping a morally good life.

Frequent prayer nurtures a relationship with the Divine and is essential to the cultivation of personal virtues, providing a means to reflect on the gifts from God such as dignity, intelligence, and the image of God within each person.

The practice of virtue requires persistence and gentleness, countering the effects of sins like discord and indulgence.

Catholics believe that through consistent effort and participation in the Church’s life, they cultivate a character that is in harmony with seeking eternal life and fulfilling their duty to both God and fellow humans.