Reflections for 4 part of Lent, 4 rung on ladder according to St Thomas, Gift/ Courage Virtue Fortitude, Beatitude Blessed are those who hunger and Thirst “The Soul Institute”

Saint Thomas shows how each of the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are linked to a particular virtue or virtues, and how this leads to one of the Beatitudes. St Thomas is showing us how to grow in virtue.

Father Bransfield in his book, ‘The Human Person’ writes, ” So far we have discussed how the Holy Spirit inspires the believer with the gifts of fear of the Lord, piety, and knowledge. Those gifts foster the virtues of hope, temperance. justice, and faith. Next comes the virtue of fortitude, which is inspired by the gift of courage and fortifies the believer.”Father Bransfield quoting St Thomas writes, “The Holy Spirit strengthen us to persist to the end of the good work we have begun, despite any setback we may meet along the way. The gift of courage inspires practical confidence so that we can persist despite trails. We are not always successful, but we are called to remain faithful. Our strength is meant to last beyond this world to everlasting life. Courage is not reckless abandon. It is a confidence that expels fear and perfect the just person to overcome all dangers standing between him and eternal life.”

Luis M, Martinez in his book, ‘True Devotion To The Holy Spirit’ writes, ” Therefore does Holy Scripture say that ‘the deliberation of mortals are timid, and unsure are our plans.’ Our acts have the seal of weakness and deficiency. If we are to obtain salvation, fortitude with its companion virtues is not enough. A gift is needed- the gift of the Holy Spirit that bears the same name as the virtue: the gift of fortitude. The Holy Spirit moves us by this gift so that we are able to overcome difficulties, to avoid danger, and to have confidence. ‘I can so all things.’ exclaimed the apostle St. Paul, ‘In Him who strengthen me.’ Let us now analyze why the virtue of fortitude must be completed by the corresponding gift. The virtues have a norm distinct from the gifts. The virtue of fortitude encourages is in laborious works and fills us with the strength to over difficulties. But as it functions according to the measure of human strength, it cannot encourages us to anything above our strength. All virtue, theologians say, consist in the middle course; and deviation of our will to the right or to the left removes us from virtue. Fortitude, the virtue, certainly does not permit irrational timidity, but neither can it prompt is to undertake with assurance and boldness anything superior to our human strength…Now, its it not too much for human strength to complete every work and avoid every danger? Where is the man who is strong, great, and persevering enough to finish every labor he undertakes and to escape from every peril he find in his path? The work that the Christian has to achieve- the sanctification of his soul, the winning of eternal salvation-is the greatest and most arduous work known on earth. Can man, by his own strength-do this tremendous work and avoid all the dangers of a lifetime? Undoubtedly he cannot. He needs so aid that is superior to the virtues; he needs the gift of fortitude.”

Father Bransfield tells us about the virtue of Fortitude, ” Courage strengthen the virtue of fortitude in the believer. This virtue enables us to remain dedicated and resist difficulties while pursuing what is truly good.” Father Antonio Royo Marin OP in his book, ‘The Great Unknown The Holy Spirit And His Gifts’ writes, ” With invincible confidence: This is one of the clearest marks of distinction between the virtue of fortitude and the gift of fortitude. The virtue of fortitude, says St Thomas, also give the strength to the soul for overcoming obstacles, but it is the gift alone that imparts the invincible confidence of success.”

Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘Beatitudes Eight Steps to Happiness’ tells us this about the beatitude ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst.’ He writes, ” Wealth and the satisfaction it can bring tend to keep people tied to an earthly mentality, because ‘where your treasure is, there will be your heart also’ (Lk 12:34) Wealth and satiety weigh people down ‘with dissipation and drunkenness.’ (Lk 8:14) cloking the seek of the word in them. (Lk 8:14) They make people forget that they could be called upon that very neigh to give an account of their lives. (Lk 12:16-20) The rich man is unfortunate because his wealth makes his entrance into the kingdom more difficult than a camel’s passage, ‘through the eye of a needle.’ (Lk 18:25)

Thought for the day: To live the Christian life we need courage. The virtue of courage is not enough to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. In order to overcome the world, the flesh and the devil we need we need the Holy Spirit gift of Courage. Ask for this great gift of the Holy Spirit to help you live the life that God wants you to live.

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