Practice Your Virtues

“God assesses our action according to our intention; for it is said that the Lord will “reward you according to your heart” (Ps. 20:4).”

-St. Mark the Ascetic

Achieving our goals by doing the things we should do, when we should do them, and how we should do them.

This virtue allows us to determine what’s right and what’s wrong, stop and consider the consequences of our decisions before acting or speaking and then act accordingly. Developing this virtue allows one to differentiate between right and wrong in situations where different values might collide or there are no clear guidelines.

Giving good things to others freely and abundantly—not just money, but also time, knowledge, and skills. It’s also the way in which we give…willingly and cheerfully.

Having a sense of inner calm, no matter what is happening around us. It’s about being satisfied and content wherever we are or whatever is happening around us, and being in harmony with our goals and desires. This virtue allows us to be calm and poised in the midst of our crazy-busy lives and the stress that comes with it.

Standing up for what is right, even in the face of pressure. In the Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote, “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.”

Being of service to others and doing thoughtful things that make a difference in the lives of others, as well as our own. This virtue begins with observation and awareness. Through the virtue of helpfulness, we give of ourselves and grow in love.

Managing our desires and wants in order to achieve a greater good and meet our life goals. Building self-control not only gives us willpower, but it also grows self-esteem.

Fulfilling one’s duties and accepting the consequences of one’s words and actions—intentional and unintentional. Let’s face it, the world needs more people who are willing to take personal responsibility for their thoughts, words, actions, and their associated consequences.

Being helpful to the entire family of humankind. This can also be called beneficence, which means helping the greater community for the common good.

Taking the steps necessary to carry out objectives in spite of difficulties. Developing this virtue helps us be successful in life–no matter our goals or obstacles we face.

Good Counsel
Seeking advice from a reasonable person. This virtue enables us to know who we can trust to have our best interest at heart, as well as when to ask for help.

Good Judgement
Thinking rightly about a decision and making a sound decision. The virtue of good judgement is developed through experiences both good and bad, as well as reflection on those decisions.

Expressing genuine concern about the well-being of others–anticipating their needs.

A humble person can be confident without being arrogant and maintain self-respect despite what others think. Humility is a virtue that helps kids be a better team player at school or in sports and own their mistakes. In the face of criticism, this virtue helps us fully consider what is being said instead of instantly defending ourselves.

Recognizing the worth and dignity of every single human person. The virtue of respect allows us to live in harmony with others.

Assenting to rightful authority without hesitation or resistance. In today’s world, individual freedom and thoughts are put above all else, and obeying authority is seen as weak and a threat to personal freedom. However, the virtue of obedience is what keeps society from disintegrating into chaos and teaches us how to shed our pride and ego and be more humble for the greater societal good.

Allowing other people to have their opinions about non-essential things and accepting the preferences and ideas that are different from ours without compromising our own beliefs.

Remaining calm and not becoming annoyed when dealing with problems or difficult people. This could also mean paying attention to something for a long time without becoming bored or losing interest.

Treating other people with respect and recognizing that all people are worthy of love and acceptance. When we speak and act courteously, we let others know we value and respect them.

Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good. It strengthens the resolve to resist temptations and to overcome obstacles in the moral life. The virtue of fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause.
(CCC 1808)

Willingness to be taught, to learn, and to grow. The Latin root docere means to teach, and it’s where we get the words doctor and doctrine. Docility is the virtue of obedience and the openness to be taught. It’s about being open to new ideas and gaining truthful knowledge and applying it in our lives.

Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it (CCC 1806)

Paying due honor and respect to one’s country, with a willingness to serve. Patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion, and sense of attachment to a homeland and alliance with other citizens who share the same sentiment.

Charity is the theological virtue by which we love God above all things for his own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God. (CCC 1822)

Definitions for virtues are sourced from this link, unless otherwise cited.