Fr. Timothy Shea

Blog #8: One Virtue, One Gift

May 20, 2020

When I was a young boy at St. Pat’s School in St. John’s Parish, a lot of our education was memory work: memorizing the alphabet, the times tables, poems, and answers in the Baltimore Catechism. I think for every grade the first class in the morning was religion, so – way back then for First Communion I memorized the theological virtues: faith, hope and charity. Then for Confirmation I memorized the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and the fear of the Lord. I did not know what they meant, but I had them memorized!! However, during this time of stopping the spread of the coronavirus there is one virtue and one gift that really come to mind. The virtue of hope and the gift of fortitude.

Hope is the virtue of being joyful, of seeing the best of every situation. Hope lets us be optimistic and positive about the future. It is a good virtue to have these days so that we are able to look to the summer, the rest of 2020 and even 2021 and realize that life is going to be better. Everything is going to be fine. That is hope!

Fortitude is the gift that combines wisdom, courage and sacrifice. Fortitude allows us to deal with fear and anxiety. Our health care workers are blessed with fortitude. Fortitude helps us to acknowledge our fear but to know difficult things have to be done because those difficult things are more important than one’s fear. Our essential workers are afraid they might get COVID-19, but it is more important for them to go to work and help others. That is fortitude!!

Hope and fortitude: one virtue and one gift!!

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