Tuesday, August 26, 2014

ViR-choo!! uh...Bless you?!

These thoughts are being prompted by a great book called Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love by Edward Sri. I totally recommend it and will be using it as a spring board for this blog entry. I'll also be quoting it below. 

When I was going through my college years, and prior to that too, I recall learning about virtue. Over the last few years, after entering seminary and being ordained a priest, I've come to see and notice that we don't speak about virtue. I suppose we begin to consider virtue to be a lame or stagnant way of life. It's almost a bad word to say someone is virtuous, right?


It's so fascinating what society has done to our understanding of all those things that are true and good and beautiful. You know virtues actually help us be more human. They help us control our passions. They help us see things as they should be seen. They help us interact with people as we should. I mean, they help us be more than just animals.

Danbo, leave...the milk...alone!
You've had more than enough!
You know, to be a morally good person means that the standards are held high.(Sri 87) Too often we settle for doing what feels good, "following our hearts," being complacent with the sub-standards of society...And when we fall for these sub-standards, we don't live out virtue but we tend to live out vice...

Danbo: Priest, what is virtue?

My bad...okay, so the easiest way to understand virtue is to think of it as a disposition of your heart and will.

Danbo: O_o

Virtue is basically the ability to do good things without thinking about it. You do good things because its now second nature to you. You do good things because you have made it a habit of doing the morally good thing.

Danbo: After doing a certain action many times it can become a habit? And the habit eventually turns into virtue?

Well, yes, when that action becomes second nature it becomes a habit. A habit to do the morally good thing is a virtue. A vice is the disposition to do morally bad (evil) things.

Danbo: So how does this help you humans not be like animals? How does it help you be your best?

Ultimately, virtue helps you see things as they are. They help you to always be thinking and acting in ways that are morally good. You'll naturally know not to not act out of emotions but out of the right and morally good thing to do. Animals will always act out of instinct. They will always act on emotions. And, though yes they can learn, at some point the animal cannot rationally say to themselves, "I am upset with my owner and the way he is treating me. Even though I feel this way and anger is raging within me, I will walk away until I feel better about this so I don't do something horrible. Then we can forgive each other."

See virtues "remind us of the higher moral standard that we are called to follow." (Sri 87) As human individuals, we move outside of ourselves. We think of the "other" in a personal way. Virtues help us tame the emotions and appetites in us so that we can always act as we should. Emotions and appetites are not bad in themselves, but when we allow them to control our every actions, then in a sense we become slaves to our emotions. We have noticed what happens when we act out of the immediate feelings we are experiencing. We do something we regret or we get ourselves into a slump of some sort...Virtues help us place our emotions in their proper place in our lives so we can enjoy things and interact with people as we should...

Danbo: To act as you should means you act the way you were created to enjoy life?


Danbo: But doesn't that mean that all the other fun things you could do are forbidden?

Ah, but Danbo, to truly be happy, live life, and have fun, we must live as we were intended to. First and foremost we follow God. Following Him, we begin to realize how to live our lives and how to enjoy the things of this world. Now, that doesn't mean that we can't enjoy zip-lining, powerlifting, skeet-shooting, wake-boarding, or the like...Being temperate, prudent, just, and fortitudinous help us figure out how to put all our energies in living life rightly while working and having fun.

Doing bad things, though they may have an initial "fun characteristic" to them, will leave us feeling empty and void. They will never satisfy. They will leave us wanting, hurting ourselves and others. If we were meant to enjoy bad things, then why do people who do bad/evil things seem to never be happy nor satisfied? Those that live a virtuous life find happiness and satisfaction because they have developed their hearts and actions to do the good thing.


  1. This is some advice I recieved in the confessional just three days ago: "When you are thinking of these things, if it is of a particular person, stop for a moment and pray for that person. Now you have taken an occasion of sin and turned it into an moment of virtue..." and I thought to my self "Wow... yea. We don't talk nearly enough about virtue and if I was able to do that, surely I could with the grace of God overcome these things..." it begs me to ask: ARE YOU IN MY HEAD? haha.

  2. OH MY GOODNESS. I ONLY JUST REALIZED THE TITLE OF THE BLOG IS VIRTURE=VIRCHOO. I am cracking up! I really just thought, what does any of this have to do with sneezing..... HAHA You're clever in a super silly way and I appreciate it! :-)


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