The Cardinal Virtues // Fortitude

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go Joshua 1:7

The virtue of fortitude means having the courage to do the right thing, even though you are afraid. While prudence is a virtue that helps us to know what is right and what is wrong, it is fortitude that gives us the courage to do it. It is the virtue of the martyrs, those who were willing to sacrifice their lives rather than forsake their faith. Their stories are fortitude in action. But how is that kind of courage required of me during these modern times where I do not face the threat of losing my life for my beliefs? The threats may be different in our modern world, but they are dangerous just the same. We face spiritual warfare daily.

Recently my husband shared with me disturbing statistics he learned in a lecture on the use of pornography.  It is ubiquitous, and consequently, an alarming number of children have regular access to it. The impact of this growing addiction has become debilitating for our youth. This prompted us to immediately check each of our children's devices to confirm strict parental controls. We limit their movies, music, books and video games. While we do this because it is our job to protect them, it is still hard. It's hard not because I have a problem putting my foot down on the issue; it's hard because of the social backlash they face being "those kids with the strict parents." This is not always easy on them, but I know that one day, they will fully understand the perils that surround them. 

Our world is experiencing a moral collapse. In the West, we were once a beautiful civilization that held shared values and beliefs. But times have changed, and it does not take much consumption of the news, social media or any media to see how desensitized we have become.  I shudder at times to think about the world my children will inherit. It can be very depressing, but we must see this as our opportunity to practice fortitude! The moral erosion of our society is not something that we must passively accept. Let's be courageous in the face of these moral assaults and be willing to engage in this spiritual warfare even if only on a local level, like setting limits for our children. We must find the courage to do what we know is right! It would be easy to spend a few minutes on social media or watching the news and become overwhelmed and decide the task is too great.  But let's remember, we do not have to overcome this evil all at once, we need only pray for the courage to do the next right thing, and He will give us enough strength for today.  No matter how challenging and crazy the world feels, we need to remember that there is good in this world, and it is worth the fight. Christ himself knew this to be true, and because of this, his crucifixion remains the greatest example of fortitude.

Today, let us continue to pray for the Church, our priests, and parishes and one another. Oremus pro invicem

To Jesus through Mary-Amelia Manness-Gilliland