Part 3: “We Landed on the Moon!”

I have been a Roman Catholic my entire life. I attended eight years of Catholic school and completed all sacraments of initiation. After 34 years as a practicing Catholic, I now humbly characterize myself as the Catholic version of Lloyd Christmas from the 90s comedy classic Dumb and Dumber. Yes, I am aware we landed on the moon, but I liken my reintroduction to the seven virtues as a sadly similar moment of naive discovery.

The Catholic Catechism describes a virtue as 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 himself.”  

There are four cardinal virtues:

  • Prudence
  • Justice
  • Fortitude
  • Temperance

These act to guide us towards true joy on earth. There are three theological virtues, which are “infused by God into the souls of the faithful,” they are:

  • Faith
  • Hope
  • Charity  

Yes, I vaguely recall memorizing these virtues, but I clearly failed to learn their benefit or relevance in my life.

I attended mass today with a question as to how I should approach the religious formation of my children. This question stemmed not from my heart, but instead as a challenge from God. God challenged, and answered in the form of these beautiful characterizations of good spiritual habits.

Thanks to a well-timed homily, I now find much more clarity in my mission as a Catholic parent. First, I must live these virtues, so I may witness to my children and all those around me. Second, I must teach these virtues to my children, so they understand the habits that will lead to happiness on earth and eternal life.

As a modern man in an automated world, I am no longer guiding a plough or forging a blade. While I could spend my free time programming an automower or grooming my beard, I should instead capitalize on my leisure and pour my heart and soul into my children’s formation. Promoting these seven virtues enables my children to form habits that lead them towards earthly joy and eternal salvation. While humbling, I am eternally grateful for this divine revelation and the recognition of these seven gifts.

William Wisehart