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Lesson 15

The Life-Giving Virtues

Cultivating virtue, or the habit of doing good, in our lives is a powerful weapon in our arsenal for contending with sin and the evil spirit. Our habits are in-built attitudes that give rise to spontaneous responses and behaviors. Through the natural virtues of prudence, temperance, justice, and fortitude, we become free to act for the ultimate goals of goodness and the Kingdom of God.

Lesson Vocabulary

  • Natural Virtues
    Four virtues acquired through our own effort that play a pivotal role in the exercise of other virtues. They are the fruit and seed of morally good acts and help prepare the powers of human beings for communion with God鈥檚 love. They are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Also called Cardinal Virtues or moral virtues.
  • Supernatural Virtues
    Gifts infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as His children and of meriting eternal life. They are faith, hope, and charity (or love). Also called theological virtues.
  • Prudence
    鈥淩ight judgement.鈥 A Cardinal Virtue that helps guide all of the other virtues because it helps us to discern the true good in every circumstance. It helps us to make the right decision at the right time and to find the best way to achieve a good outcome. (1834, 1839)
  • Detachment
    Disconnectedness or removal from worldly concerns and temptations in order to focus on things that truly matter.
  • Fasting
    Intentionally refraining from eating and drinking. Catholics over the age of 14 are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and are encouraged to do so at other times throughout the year as an intentional sacrifice.
  • Beatitudes
    The Beatitudes are Jesus鈥 teachings in the Sermon on the Mount about how to live our lives on earth so that we can be perfectly happy in Heaven.
  • Chastity
    A moral virtue that helps us manage or control our desires for bodily and spiritual pleasure in the way that God intended. Chastity specifically involves self-mastery of sexual feelings. It is also virtue that helps us choose what is best for others. (2394, 2395)
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