Everyone struggles with something. A root sin, a set of bad habits, some sort of fear, something that causes undue anxiety, etc. Many (most?) of us struggle with many such things. So what does a person do? Drew Taylor and I sat down recently to discuss this topic, and more. Check it out here:
True Manhood’s Guide For How To Grow In Virtue
As mentioned in the video, the way that you and I can best overcome our struggles, shortfalls, and sins is to pinpoint exactly what we’re failing with, and then perform the opposite behavior. The sin is the vice, and the opposite is the virtue. Let’s explain a few things in more detail; the definition of virtue is a great place to start.
Take a look at paragraph 1803 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it states that “Virtue is the habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows a person not only to perform good acts but to give the best of himself.” When we give in to our sinful desires, passions, and temptations, we’re failing to give the best of ourselves. These failures get in the way of us fulfilling our purpose and can be in direct relation to God, neighbor, or to ourselves.
What we should be doing and what we actually do are usually not the same. But it doesn’t have to be that way! We can embrace what I call “The Steep Upward Climb”, which is a difficult and treacherous path to the top of a very steep mountain.
The world encourages us to do whatever we want, whenever we want, with no consequences. However, this way of living is chaotic and unfulfilling. Every human knows the behaviors that offend the natural law, and we often feel shame, embarrassment, and/or just flat-out-terrible when we perform those behaviors. So, if you’re sick of feeling that way, and want to work to achieve much more in life, check this out.
Do you struggle with lust? Then you should work on possessing the virtue of chastity. (Chastity: living out our human sexuality in an ordered way.) Do you drink excessively, to drunkenness? Strive for sobriety. (Sobriety: being of sound mind, able to make reasonable decisions, especially in terms of not overconsuming alcohol.) Maybe you are atheist or agnostic or have disbelief. You need the virtue of faith. (Faith: the intellectual assent to God’s Divine Revelation and the personal adherence to it.) Are you selfish, and make everything about yourself? Try to live the virtue of justice. (Justice: Giving to others what is due to them.) Maybe you’re impulsive and rash in your decision making. You need prudence. (Prudence: wisdom for practical everyday living.) And maybe you’re like me, and really prideful. Yuck. We need to be humble! (Humility: a man knowing himself as he truly is, lowers himself.)
Regardless of the sin, there is a virtue that counteracts the sinful behavior. Be aware that living virtue is REALLY HARD! Vice and sin is easy. Vice and sin come much more naturally to us because of our fallen nature. So, if you’re going to work on becoming virtuous, just know that it’s going to be difficult. You’re going to be pushed, stretched, and you’re going to want to quit. For the sake of yourself and your salvation, keep going.
ALL ABOUT LOVE
In the end, all of us have a perfect model of virtue; Jesus Christ! Strive to live as He lived. EVERYTHING he did was done out of love, the greatest of all the virtues! Love is THE form of virtue. To will the good of another is why we work to perform any of the virtues. Think about it… why should I want to live chastity instead of lust? So that I can be loving. Why should I want to stay sober? So I can be loving. Ask this about anything, and the answer is ALWAYS love!
For more on this topic, check out TrueManhood.com, and specifically, you can download the FREE PDF “TrueManhood’s Quick Guide to Virtue.” Dave has lots of blog posts, resources, videos, and more – just search “virtue”.