The Three Greatest Virtues | Lenten Series 2019 | Week 2

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“The seminary also must be a school of spiritual growth in which seminarians are formed into men of prayer, imbued with those virtues that only grace can bring: faith, hope, and charity.”[1]

As we journey through Lent, we are reminded of our own lowliness in the presence of God. Every gift, even our very existence, is thanks to His incredible mercy and love for us. One of His greatest gifts is sanctifying grace, which includes three virtues that adapt our faculties for participation in the divine nature.[2] Faith, hope, and love prepare us to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. These virtues are a direct gift from God. They are infused in our soul at Baptism and cannot be developed in our lives without God’s infinite mercy.

“They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being.” – CCC, 1813

Imagine, for a moment, the power of these virtues in action. Recall the story of a saint who endured intense persecution, such as St. Maximilian Kolbe or St. Edith Stein. While it can be difficult to see past the physical suffering they endured, imagine the level of peace in their soul because they truly believed in the presence of and promise of Our Lord. What a gift! They held steadfast in their faith through persecution, smiled in hope at the promise of Heaven, and lived out selfless charity as they offered their own lives in place of another.

We might feel envious of their virtue until we remember that we have access to these same virtues through the gift of sanctifying grace. We may not be facing martyrdom, but if we truly lived faith, hope, and love, our every decision would be a joyful self-gift.

At the college seminary, we spend a great deal of time pondering these spiritual realities, and we constantly beg God for a stronger faith, deeper hope, and greater love.

“Hope, O my soul, hope. You know neither the day nor the hour. Watch carefully, for everything passes quickly, even though your impatience makes doubtful what is certain, and turns a very short time into a long one. Dream that the more you struggle, the more you prove the love that you bear your God, and the more you will rejoice one day with your Beloved, in a happiness and rapture that can never end.”[3] Take Action this Week:

  • Pray the rosary daily this week. Spend extra time on the opening three Hail Marys, petitioning God for an increase in faith, hope, and love.
  • Read the Catechism on the Theological Virtues: CCC 1812 – 1829
  • Pray for the current and future priests of the Diocese of Charlotte. May their lives and example show us the true meaning of faith, hope, and love.

[1] USCCB Program of Priestly Formation, 260

[2] Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 1812

[3] CCC, 1821