Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Catechism of the Catholic Church and virtues

I found out recently that the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church is actually available online here.

Looks like a very interesting read. :) It's sort of like a complete guide to the Catholic faith... :) I think every Catholic, or even those who simply want to know more about Catholicism, should read this. I believe it can help us gain a deeper understanding of our religion, and guide us in living out our faith.

I think this section on virtues is truly beautiful:

1803 "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."[62]

A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions.

The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.[63]

I. THE HUMAN VIRTUES

1804 Human virtues are firm attitudes, stable dispositions, habitual perfections of intellect and will that govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct according to reason and faith. They make possible ease, self-mastery, and joy in leading a morally good life. The virtuous man is he who freely practices the good.

The moral virtues are acquired by human effort. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts; they dispose all the powers of the human being for communion with divine love.


Virtues are truly beautiful. We, as human beings, are naturally attracted to it. In fact, we are all called as Christians to seek perfection, to seek purity, to be more like Christ. But, as we all know, virtues are fruits attained only through difficulties, trials, hardships, problems. The road that leads to it is narrow and crooked, riddled with obstacles, with pain and suffering. That is why so few reach it. But it is something that we are capable of attaining and is worthy of all our efforts and energies.

Every day we are presented with opportunities to grow. When we are faced with difficult circumstances, we always have the power to choose our response -- either to respond positively, or in a way that leads to growth in character, or negatively, in a way that leads to harm or destruction for others and ourselves. We always have the power to choose. We have free will. We are free:


"Between stimulus and response, there is space.
In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and happiness."

(Quoted by Stephen Covey in Living the 7 Habits: The Courage to Change)


But often times, we choose the easier way out -- we react to situations. (I am especially guilty of this!) That is, we act without weighing the consequences, or more importantly, the wisdom and morality, of our actions properly. In short, we act without thinking. We let our instincts and usually our habits control us. What we need, therefore, is patience. And patience is developed through practice, through the deliberate act of choosing to wait and to consider one's options properly before one acts. And we acquire all the other virtues in the same way -- through habits. What can best destroy bad habits than good habits? :)

There's also this wonderful website on virtues you might want to check out: The Virtues Project. From its About page:

Love. Kindness. Justice. Service. The virtues are the very meaning and purpose of our lives. They are universally valued by people of all faiths and cultures. We seek ways to renew and deepen our connection with the values that give direction to our lives. We strive to mentor our children and to build safe and caring schools and communities.

The mission of The Virtues Project is to provide empowering strategies that inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.


The site also offers a list of the virtues and their definitions: What are the virtues? Another nice reading! :)

One exemplary person of virtue is Haydee Yorac who recently passed away. I really know very little about her (darn!), except for the fact that she was a strong crusader against Marcos during the Martial Law years, and a firm defender of justice who fought to recover Marcos' ill-gotten wealth and hounded his crony Danding Cojuanco and sought to win back (with great, albeit partial, success) the millions of coco levy funds Danding used to keep his shares in the San Miguel Corporation. She was a fighter to the very end. She is indeed someone we all can look up to and emulate.

Three tributes to her:

  • Telling the truth and getting away with it by Sheila Coronel


  • The ultimate test of Haydee's glare by Pablito Sanidad


  • Her passion for truth and justice by Teodoro Bacani, Jr.


  • I wonder, has Condrado de Quiros written about her already?

    Update:

    If you have EWTN in your cable TV, you should try to check out The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions, a series by Catholic author and speaker Marcellino D'Ambrosio. He discusses each of the cardinal and theological virtues each week. There's really a lot to learn from this show. The program airs every Wednesdays, 10:30pm. (I don't know if there are other schedules besides that one).

    EWTN also airs reruns of the series by Fr. John Corapi on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is an excellent program on the CCC. Fr. Corapi is a very powerful speaker. You should listen to him talk. He's very down-to-earth, unpretentious, and to-the-point with his messages. He had a very dark and troubled past before he became a priest, and his story of conversion and transformation is truly amazing. (Program runs every Friday, 11:00pm).

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