We enter into this new set of teachings today on the four cardinal virtues. What’s the motive? It’s quite simple really. This is the overarching point. If we do not prepare the natural terrain, God will not enrich us supernaturally. If we do not have the principle natural virtues, God will not give us the supernatural virtues. Or not enrich us with supernatural virtues which as we studied last year, faith hope and charity. Problem is if we are without the supernatural virtues, we’re without salvation. So it’s very important to prepare the terrain, this is the purpose of the next five weeks of homilies. Today’s an introduction to the topic, in which we will look a little bit of the human being. The different bits of the human being, particularly focusing on the passions, because as we will see in the weeks ahead, the passions are controlled by us or they control us. The controlled by us if we have virtues, virtues are what directs the passions. So basically what I’m doing today is setting the background… For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
We are good people. But we all know, that just as it’s hard to become better, it’s very easy to become worse. We know that we become better by the practise of virtue, God makes us the light of the world the salt of the earth. But we become worse by the practice of vice. Over the last year and a half since I got here, I have had the occasion to talk about sin and vice. I have been very surprised at the reception with which people have accepted this topic. It takes humble people to accept humiliations. Every time we talk about sin and vice, there is an accusation for all of us because none of us are perfect. So frankly I’m a little humbled, that it’s been received so well. Difficult topics. However, as I promised a couple of weeks ago we’re going to turn that over now. Let’s put vice aside for a while and concentrate on that beautiful aspect, which is virtue, virtue. I want us to know more about it, I want us to love it, I want each and everyone of us to be more virtuous. So what will we say about virtue. We’ll say what it is, how we can obtain it, why we should obtain it, why it’s necessary. Not only for salvation in that life, but because it’s very useful in this life. Any virtue, the virtues. But first a little bit of background. All of us have habits, some good and some bad. Habits that we have acquired through routines through the repetition of certain actions. Bad actions form bad habits, and bad habits form vices. A person smokes one or two cigarettes a day, ok it’s not the end of the world. Ten years later, that grows to 10, 20 30 a day… For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
We’ve been studying together about virtue. Fair question though, is if we are talking about fortitude, who do we consider strong? Who do we consider courageous? The soldier who defends his country in battle, certainly. Any person who risks their life to save someone else’s life, certainly. There are also examples which are less well known, courage. Take the young lady for example, she’s pregnant. She gets pressured by family friends, boyfriend, partner, whatever, to get rid of the baby, for trivial selfish reasons. But she says no, she insists on no. Take the man in the workplace, he’s offered a promotion, more money, an easy career path if he will go against his principles. But he says no, he insists no, against what everyone else is saying to him. It takes courage, newspapers don’t write about that a lot. But this is written in our conscious and most of all, these acts of courage a written God’s book of our life. Today, I wish to pay tribute to all the unknown courageous people, who have the strength to say no to the bad and yes to the good, even when they have to pay a price. Today I wish to pay tribute to those who love truth, seek justice and righteousness, even when they had to pay the price. I want to pay tribute to all of them today by making an effort to teach about this virtue which animated all of them, Fortitude. We will hear what this virtue is. How to obtain it, how to maintain it. The impediments to it, in other words how we might loose it. But first, I think there is a nice story, a true story which illustrates why it’s such an important virtue... For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.
There was a parish council, much like our own¬, made up of characters like Anna and John and company. They decided it would be important if they promoted in the parish the virtue of humility, especially in children. They said lets find an award, a prize for the most humble person in the parish. A committee was formed, names were put forward and finally they came up and agreed upon Mr. Jones, a little wee shy man who never took credit for the things he did. That Sunday, he was given a gold badge, which said – most humble man in the parish. However the same committee the following Sunday had to take the badge off him. Why? Because he turned up in the chapel that Sunday with a badge on the front of his blazer for everybody to see. He missed a little bit of the point of humility; he wanted to stay basking in that glory. I mention this, because most of us have the wrong idea about the virtue of humility. I mention this because it’s the central theme in the readings today. That’s what I want to talk about today, in three brief points first what is the virtue of humility, what is the vice opposed to it and are there any tips or means or ways we can implant the first and irradiate the second. So what is humility?... For Fr. Nicholas’ complete homily please listen to the Audio.