VIRTUE: The Better Angels Of Our Nature, by John Bradshaw

From Reclaiming Virtue The mysterious complexity of our life is not to be embraced by maxims, to lace ourselves up in formulas of that sort is to repress all the divine promptings and inspirations that spring from growing insight and sympathy from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human. (George Eliot) Magnificent moral moments often move us to tears.  They can make chills run down our spine; sometimes they inspire us to change.  Why is this?  These stories seem to touch something deep within us, a part of us that is naturally attracted to what is good and virtuous. The psychologist Erik Erikson writes: Men have always shown a dim knowledge of their better potentialities by paying [...]

SATURDAY READING: The Virtue Of The Angels, by Gabriel Bunge

From Dragon’s Wine and Angel’s Bread: The Teaching of Evagrius Ponticus on Anger and Meekness The image of man, as presented by Evagrius, would remain one-sided were one only to present it against the dark background of those vices that pervert it, without also showing its luminous, “angelic” dimensions.  Furthermore, hardly anyone could muster the courage and endurance to do battle against a vice such as anger if he did not have an appealing image of real humanness before his eyes – an ideal which perhaps he is not able to develop, but which nevertheless widens the narrow horizon of our Earthly existence.  A good deal has already been mentioned in the preceding chapters, but here we shall attempt to form a [...]

VIRTUES: What Is Christian Virtue?, by Romanus Cessario, O.P.

From The Virtues, Or The Examined Life We know that Aquinas in the Summa theologiae begins his analysis of virtue with the standard textbook definition of virtue that was common among 13th-century moralists: “Virtue is a good quality of mind, by which one lives righteously, of which no one can make bad use, which God works in us without us.”  Following normal procedure, we can consider each element of the definition as Aquinas explains it within his general teleological view of the moral life.  First, the formal cause: “Virtue is a good quality of mind.”  For Aquinas, virtue belongs to the generic category of quality; more specifically he places it within that kind of quality that Aristotle called habitus.  As a philosophical [...]

PRAYER: To Acquire The Virtues, by Thomas Aquinas

O God, all-powerful and all-knowing, without beginning and without end, You Who are the source, the sustainer, and the rewarder of all virtues, Grant that I may abide on the firm ground of faith, be sheltered by an impregnable shield of hope, and be adorned in the bridal garment of charity. Grant that I may through justice be subject to You, through prudence avoid the beguilements of the devil, through temperance exercise restraint, and through fortitude endure adversity with patience. Grant that whatever good things I have, I may share generously with those who have not and that whatever good things I do not have, I may request humbly from those who do. Grant that I may judge rightly the evil of the wrongs I have done and bear calmly the [...]