The Virtuous Life
Introduction Respect Tenacity Compassion
Faith Hope Charity Prudence and Justice
Temperance and Humility Mercy Conclusion
A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of oneself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his/her sensory and spiritual powers; he/she pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions. 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 person is one who freely practices the good. It is by these we shall live so as to refine our souls and be made worthy of salvation.
While the Holy Light teaches that awareness of the self and the universe is a goal, one must also see the connection between others and the universe. Destroying other's happiness and severing other's connections with the universe is not serving the world's well-being, and therefore not your own. The practitioners of the Holy Light are not naive, however, and understand that trial, conflict, war, and suffering do happen; but they strive to make the universe a better place in spite of these hindrances.
The world is much bigger than one lone soul; and while the world can change a soul in a day, it takes much more time to change the world. Only through tenacity can a servant of the Holy Light hope to affect the universe. If some young students feel like this is an impossible task, others take heart in the realization that if you truly believe there is a connection between the self and the universe, one cannot help but affect the other, no matter the size. Affecting the world can include anything from teaching and instilling hope in others to joining with other like-minded individuals to work together to create a bigger change.
It 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 tenacity enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice one’s life in defense of a just cause.
The connection between the self and the universe is strong, but it still is only one connection. If a follower of the Light serves another to increase his happiness, his bond with the universe grows stronger. The happiness he receives by helping someone also strengthens himself and the universe, and he is able to affect the universe even more. Compassion is perhaps the most powerful — and yet most dangerous — virtue. If someone is too compassionate, he can give help where none is needed — or wanted. This oversight can hinder one's growth and happiness. For example, one may help another with a seemingly impossible quest, when such a quest is not actually out of the abilities of the one making the attempt. Thus, Compassion (however well intentioned) has resulted in that person's inability to grow as the quest was essentially "done for them", hindering their growth and happiness.
Some helpers can be awkward and do more harm than good with their actions, increasing the suffering and unhappiness in the world. A well-meaning follower of the Light may rush to the aid of an adventurer(s) and wind up gaining too much interest of those attacking, and thus force those they try to help to rush to the follower's aid.
Faith is the virtue by which we believe in the Light and believe all that it has revealed to us, and that the Church proposes for our belief, because the Light is truth itself. By faith we freely commit ourselves to the Light. For this reason the believer seeks to know and do the Light's will. The righteous shall live by faith. A living faith is made manifest by work[s] through charity. The gift of faith remains in one who has not sinned against it. But faith apart from works is dead: when it is deprived of hope and love, faith does not fully unite the believer to the Light. The disciple of the Light must not only keep the faith and live on it, but also profess it, confidently bear witness to it, and spread it. Service of and witness to the faith are necessary for salvation.
Hope is the virtue by which we desire the salvation and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in the Light and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Light. The virtue of hope responds to the aspiration to happiness; it takes up the hopes that inspire our activities and purifies them so as to order them to the Light; it keeps us from discouragement; it sustains us during times of abandonment; it opens up our hearts in expectation of eternal beatitude. Buoyed up by hope, we are preserved from selfishness and led to the happiness that flows from charity.
Hope is the sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. Hope is also a weapon that protects us in the struggle of salvation.
Hope is expressed and nourished in prayer. In every circumstance, each one of us should hope, with the grace of the Light, to persevere to the end and to obtain everlasting joy, as our eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of the Light.
Charity is the virtue by which we love the Light above all things, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of the Light. The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by charity, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Charity upholds and purifies our ability to love, and raises it to the supernatural perfection of divine love.
Prudence and JusticeEdit
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. It guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience.
Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the constant and firm will to give their due to Light and neighbor. It disposes one to respect the rights of each and to establish in human relationships the harmony that promotes equity with regard to persons and to the common good.
Temperance and HumilityEdit
Temperance is the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will's mastery over instincts and keeps desires within the limits of what is honorable.
Humility is the virtue by which one knowing oneself as one truly is, abases oneself. It is that by which one has a modest estimate of one’s own worth and consists in keeping oneself within one's own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one's superior. Humility is a repressing or moderating virtue opposed to pride and vainglory or that spirit within us which urges us to great things above our strength and ability.
Mercy is the virtue influencing one's will to have compassion for, and, if possible, to alleviate another's misfortune. Just as we hope to find mercy under the Holy Light, we must also show mercy to others. The ways in which we can show mercy to others can be to benefit the body or the soul.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
- To feed the hungry; - To give drink to the thirsty; - To clothe the naked; - To shelter the homeless; - To visit the sick; - To ransom the captive; - To bury the dead.
Spiritual Works of Mercy
- To instruct the ignorant; - To counsel the doubtful; - To admonish sinners; - To bear wrongs patiently; - To forgive offences willingly; - To comfort the afflicted; - To pray for the living and the dead.
Virtues are acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With the Light's help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous are happy to practice them. It is not easy for us to always maintain moral balance. The Holy Light offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask for this grace of strength, pray frequently, cooperate with the guiding voice of the Holy Light, and follow its calls to love what is good and shun evil. They are infused by the Holy Light into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as its children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Light in the faculties of the faithful.
- By Sir Paulidarius Valtaran