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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

The Forty Catholic Virtues Part One--The First Twenty

Because my guest blogger was unable to produce the natural law articles, for good reasons, I am writing this last mini-series on this blog on the virtues. There are forty according to Garrigou-Lagrange, and I have tried to find a quotation for each one for meditation. The first twenty virtues in the list make up this section.

What we need to be practicing if we want to "skip purgatory":  

some quotations are from Twelve Catholic Virtues, a great little book. Some are those I found to be appropriate.

The first list:


Perfection consists in one thing alone, which is doing the will of God. For, according to Our Lord's words, it suffices for perfection to deny self, to take up the cross and to follow Him. Now, who denies himself and takes up his cross and follows Christ better than he who seeks not to do his own will, but always that of God? Behold, now, how little is needed to become a Saint! Nothing more than to acquire the habit of willing, on every occasion, what God wills.----St. Vincent de Paul


Humility is the foundation of all the virtues
; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.----St. Augustine

union with God

The object of all virtues is to bring us into union with God, in which alone is laid up all the happiness that can be enjoyed in this world. Now, in what does this union properly consist? In nothing save a perfect conformity and resemblance between our will and the will of God, so that these these two wills are absolutely alike----there is nothing in one repugnant to the other; all that one wishes and loves, the other wishes and loves; whatever pleases or displeases one, pleases or displeases the other.----St. John of the Cross


When one has arrived at the perfect love of God, he becomes as if he were the only man on earth. He cares no more for glory or ignominy; he despises temptations and sufferings; he loses taste and appetite for all things. Finding no support, consolation, or repose in anything, he goes constantly in search of his Beloved, without ever being weary; so that at work or at table, waking or sleeping, in every employment or conversation, his whole thought and his whole aim is to find the Beloved, for his heart is where his treasure is. In one word, he is like a lover who sighs only for the sight of his love, and whose love is his all.----St. John Chrysostom 

mortification or penance

The measure of our advancement in the spiritual life should be taken from the progress we make in the virtue of mortification; for it should be held as certain that the greater violence we shall do ourselves in mortification, the greater advance we shall make in perfection.----St. Jerome 


Virtues are formed by prayer.
Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy.
Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven.”--- St. Ephrem of Syria

Mental prayer consists in weighing and understanding what we are saying, Who it is to Whom we are speaking and who we are to have the courage to speak to so great a Lord. To have these and similar thoughts is properly to make mental prayer. Their opinion, however, is not to be followed who believe that its whole essence consists in thinking, so that if they can keep their thoughts fixed by a great effort, then they consider themselves very spiritual and men of prayer; but if they are able to do this no longer, and their attention wanders a little, even to good things, they imagine they are doing nothing. No, the substance of mental prayer, in my opinion, consists in nothing but conversing with God as with a friend. And so, to speak of this thing or of that to Him, Who, we know, loves us, is mental prayer.----St. Teresa


If you see that you have not yet suffered tribulations, consider it certain that you have not begun to be a true servant of God; for the Apostle says plainly that all who choose to live piously in Christ, shall suffer persecutions.----St. Augustine 

 The way is narrow. Whoever expects to walk in it with ease must go detached from all things, leaning on the staff of the Cross; that is firmly resolving to be willing to suffer in all things for love of God.----St. John of the Cross

diligence (industry)

If man could see what reward he will have in the world above for well-doing, he would never employ his memory, understanding or will in anything but good works, without regarding at all what labor or trials he might experience in them.----St. Catherine of Genoa


Simplicity is nothing but an act of charity pure and simple, which has but one sole end----that of gaining the love of God. Our soul is then truly simple, when we have no aim at all but this, in all we do.----St. Francis de Sales


Obedience is the summary of perfection and of the whole spiritual life, and the securest, shortest, least laborious and least dangerous way of becoming enriched with all virtues, and arriving at the goal of our desires----eternal life. ----Alvarez

meekness which includes modesty

As without faith it is impossible to please God, so without mildness it is impossible to please men and to govern them well.----St. Bernard

trust in Divine Providence

Whoever serves God with a pure heart, and setting aside all individual and human interests, seeks only His glory, has reason to hope for success in all he does, and especially under circumstances when, according to human judgment, there is no help; for the Divine works are above the sight of human prudence, and depend upon a loftier principle.----St. Charles Borromeo

faith is a habit of the mind by which eternal life begins in us, a habit which makes the intellect assent to things that are not apparent.---St. Thomas Aquinas


We have to endure the discordance between imagination and fact. It is better to say, “I am suffering,” than to say, “This landscape is ugly".-- Simone Weil


I am the King's true subject, and pray for him and all the realm.... I do none harm, I say none harm, I think none harm. And if this be not enough to keep a man alive, in good faith I long not to live.... And therefore, my poor body is at the King's pleasure. Would God my death might do him some good.--- St. Thomas More


Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.---St. Thomas Aquinas


Sirach 22:26-27 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

26 but if some harm should happen to me because of him,
whoever hears of it will beware of him.
27 O that a guard were set over my mouth,
and a seal of prudence upon my lips,
that it may keep me from falling,
so that my tongue may not destroy me!

Ecclesiastes 7:14 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider; God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

 Prudence...recta ratio agibilium, right conduct--St. Thomas Aquinas

Joshua 1:6-8 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition

6 Be strong and of good courage; for you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.


Justice is the same as rectitude, not essentially but causally; for it is a habit which rectifies the deed and the will.---St. Thomas Aquinas


For these four virtues (would that all felt their influence in their minds as they have their names in their mouths!), I should have no hesitation in defining them: that temperance is love giving itself entirely to that which is loved; fortitude is love readily bearing all things for the sake of the loved object; justice is love serving only the loved object, and therefore ruling rightly; prudence is love distinguishing with sagacity between what hinders it and what helps it.---St. Augustine

to be continued...