Pain, suffering, and mortality – all of which we rightly attribute to our human nature. Due to Original Sin, we are all, well, vulnerable. The Virtue of Fortitude always presupposes the possibility of death. Angels cannot be brave for the very reason that they cannot be harmed or die – there is nothing to fear.
“Fortitude 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 fortitude enables one to conquer fear, even fear of death, and to face trials and persecutions. It disposes one even to renounce and sacrifice his life in defense of a just cause. ‘The Lord is my strength and my song.’ [Ps. 118:14] ‘In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'” [Jn. 16:33]
The Virtue of Fortitude compels us to overcome every situation in life. The highest form of this virtue is martyrdom. Principally, Fortitude is expressed in and through the following virtues:
The Vices that oppose this virtue includes:
- Fear (timor)
- Intimidation (intimiditas)
- Daring or audacity (audacia)
- Presumption (presumptio)
- Ambition (ambitio)
- Vainglory (inanis gloria)
- Pusillanimousness or contemptible fearfulness (pusillanimitas)
Facing the modern world day-after-day requires a certain amount of skill and love of life. Confronting reality and the problems that it poses – that takes courage and perseverance. Every day requires us to depend upon the Virtue of Fortitude to do what is good and just. Let us cultivate this Virtue in order to run the race for the one who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Lord, strengthen us this Lent with the grace to not fear death and to choose the good in all we do.