Human Virtues

The life of grace in each Christian is not superimposed on human reality.  On the contrary, grace penetrates, enriches and perfects human nature.  That is why the Church requires its saints to be heroic in practicing not only the theological virtues but also the moral or human ones; and it is why people who are truly united to God through the theological virtues of faith, hope and love also perfect themselves humanly; they are refined in their relationships with others; they are loyal, affable, well-mannered, generous, sincere, precisely because they have placed all their affections in God.

The supernatural order does not overwhelm or destroy the natural order.  The supernatural order lifts up and perfects the natural order, working in a manner which is suitable to its proper dignity and nature.  this is so because both orders proceed from God, who cannot be at odds with himself.

Although grace in and of itself can transform people, God normally prefers to have grace work in concert with human virtues.  How is the cardinal virtue of fortitude be sown in a Christian who will not struggle against small habits of laziness or comfort-seeking, who is unduly preoccupied with the outside temperature, who habitually gives in to his moods, who is completely taken up with his own plans and belongings?  How is a person supposed to face life's difficulties with optimism, with eyes of faith, when that person behaves like a grouchy pessimist in ordinary life?  None of the essentials, none of the good qualities in human nature must be changed.  To suppress any of the good qualities in a man--and there are many--is the worst thing a Christian can do.  Develop your character, your human faculties:  develop them to the utmost degree.  Everything which curtails your expansion, which limits your development, which makes you narrow-minded, which you back for fear of something, is not in any way Christian.  The complete purification from sin and evil inclinations which, with the help of God, man has to accomplish, is a very different process from suppressing any part of his true personality.

The Lord wants each of us to have a unique and well-developed personality.  Our personality will be the result of our understanding and appreciation for the talents God has given to us, as well as our effort to bring those talents to fruition.

It is the good soil that allows the divine seed to take root, to grow and develop unhindered.  The work of grace acts to improve the soil itself.  The practice of Christian life perfects human conditions because it gives them greater finality.  Man is more human insofar as he is more Christian.

[Conversations with God, 16th Week: Human Virtues]


It's been a while since I allowed myself to do some spiritual reading.  Now I feel like the soil in my heart has become arid.  It takes so much time to till it.  I need to be able to keep tilling the soil even in the middle of what takes up my time -- work.


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