Saturday, January 18, 2014

Onward Christian soldier!

Praised be Jesus Christ!  For those of you who have been following this blog you should know that our journey has only just begun.  I have created a new site at Go there to subscribe to the new blog.  I will no longer be posting on this site.  I have added a facebook widget and would appreciate if you click like so that others will join us.  I will have polls with the Wordpress site which is how I will keep track of our acts of virtue.  Also, we will be switching up the virtue each month and each act will be worth 1 million people conquered. 

For Mary!!!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Question 127. Daring


Article 1. Whether daring is a sin?

Daring is a passion. Passion is sometimes moderated according to reason and sometimes it isn't, either by excess or by deficiency, on this account daring is sinful.

Article 2. Whether daring is opposed to fortitude?

Moral virtue observes the rational mean in the matter about which it is concerned. Every vice that shows lack of moderation in the matter of a moral virtue is opposed to that virtue.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Question 126. Fearlessness

Praised be Jesus Christ!  Happy feast of Mary, Mother of God in the Ordinary Form calendar and feast of the Circumcision in the Extraordinary Form calendar.  I hope you all are enjoying the summaries of St. Thomas's teaching on the virtues.  I know that I am learning a lot.  If you believe I have made a mistake on a summary feel free to let me know in the comments so that I can correct it.  May all knights of Mary offer to Her valuable gifts of themselves and any merit from their prayers and good actions in the Year of Our Lord 2014. 

For Mary!

Article 1. Whether fearlessness is a sin?

Every man has it in his nature to love his own life and his temporal goods; and to do so in due measure, that is, to love these things not as placing his end in them, but as things to be used for the sake of his last end (Heaven).  

Thus it is a sin, to not love his life and goods enough. Nevertheless, one never completely fails in his love for his life and goods: since what is natural cannot be totally lost: for which reason St. Paul says (Ephesians 5:29): "No man ever hated his own flesh." Even those that commit suicide do so from a love of their own flesh, which they desire to free from the present stress. Thus it may happen that a man fears death and loss of his temporal goods less than he should, because he loves himself less than he should. 

If he is completely fearless about dying and losing his goods, this is not from a complete lack of love, but only from the fact that he thinks it impossible for him to lose the goods he loves. This is sometimes the result of pride of soul presuming on self and despising others, according to the saying of Job 41:24-25: "He who was made to fear no one, he beholdeth every high thing"

Sometimes it happens through a defect in the reason; thus Aristotle says that the "Celts, through lack of intelligence, fear nothing." It is therefore evident that fearlessness is a vice, whether it result from lack of love, pride of soul, or stupidity which is excused from sin if it is involuntary.

Article 2. Whether fearlessness is opposed to fortitude?

Fortitude is concerned with fear and daring. Every moral virtue observes the rational mean in the matter which it is concerned. In fortitude a man moderates his fear according to reason, so that he fears what he should, when he should, and so forth. This mode of reason may be corrupted either by excess or deficiency.   

Thus, just as timidity is opposed to fortitude by excess of fear, in which a man fears what he shouldn't, and as he shouldn't, so too fearlessness is opposed to fortitude because a man doesn't fear what he should.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Question 125. Fear

1. Is fear a sin?

A human act is a sin if it is disordered, because the good of a human act consists in order. For something to be correctly ordered the appetite (internal inclination) should be subject to reason. Reason says that some things should be avoided and some things sought after. When the appetite avoids what reason says we should not avoid, fear is disordered and sinful. On the other hand, when the appetite causes us to avoid what reason tells us to avoid, the appetite is neither disordered or sinful.

2. Is the sin of fear opposed to fortitude?

All fear arises from love. Men only fear losing something they love. Now love is not confined to any particular kind of virtue or vice: but rightly ordered love is included in every virtue, since every virtuous man loves the good of his virtue; while disordered love is included in every sin; thus the covetous man fears the loss of money, the intemperate man the loss of pleasure, and so on. But the greatest fear of all is death. This fear unrestrained is opposed to fortitude which regards death. Thus the sin of fear regarding death is said to be opposed to fortitude.

3. Is fear a mortal sin?

Fear is a sin when it is disordered (avoid what reason says shouldn't be avoided). Sometimes this disordered fear only involves the sensitive appetites (passions - tend to objects that are useful or pleasurable), without the consent of the rational appetite (will). In that case it can't be a mortal, but only a venial sin. But sometimes this disordered fear reaches to the will, and in this case this disordered fear is sometimes a mortal, sometimes a venial sin. For if a man through fear of death or any other temporary evil does what is forbidden by the Divine Law, or omits what is commanded by the Divine Law, such fear is a mortal sin: otherwise it is a venial sin.

Note: "The Catholic Church by virtue of the commission given to her by Christ is the Divinely constituted interpreter of the Divine Law of both the Old and the New Testament."

4. Does fear excuse from sin, or diminishes it?

As stated above, fear is sinful in when it goes against right reason. Reason judges certain evils to be avoided more than others. A sin wouldn't be committed if lesser evils (loss of money) are not avoided so that the bigger evils (death or sins) could be avoided, if done according to reason.

Thus death should be avoided more than the loss of temporal goods. For this reason a man would be excused from sin if through fear of death he promised to give something to a robber, yet he would be guilty of sin were he to give to sinners when not under fear of death, rather than to good people. On the other hand, if through fear a man were to avoid smaller evils but give in to bigger evils, he couldn't be totally be excused from sin, because that fear would be disordered. 

Evils of the soul (sins) should be feared more than evils of the body (beatings or death). And evils of the body more than evils of external things (loss of money). If one were to incur evils of the soul in order to avoid evils of the body or evils of external things, one would not be totally excused from sin. Yet one's sin would be diminished somewhat, for what is done through fear is less voluntary, because when fear takes control of a man he feels a need to do a certain thing. Thus Aristotle says that things done through fear are not only voluntary, but a mixture of voluntary and involuntary.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Question 124. Martyrdom

1. Is martyrdom an act of virtue?

Virtue helps a man to make good decisions. Good decisions consist in truth, and have justice as their effect. Martyrdom consists in standing firm in truth and justice against the assaults of persecution. Thus it is evident that martyrdom is an act of virtue.

2. Is martyrdom an act of fortitude?

An act of fortitude makes a man strong in virtue, especially against dangers, and chiefly against the dangers of death, and most of all against those that occur in battle. It's clear that in martyrdom man is firmly strengthened in virtue, since he perseveres in faith and justice in spite of the danger of death that is due to a kind of particular contest with his persecutors. Thus St. Cyprian says in a sermon: "The crowd of onlookers wondered to see an unearthly battle, and Christ's servants fighting erect, undaunted in speech, with souls unmoved, and strength divine."

It is clear that martyrdom is an act of fortitude; for which reason the Catholic Church reads in the office of Martyrs: They "became valiant in battle." [Hebrews 11:34]

3. Is martyrdom an act of the greatest perfection?

A virtuous act may be considered in comparison with its first motive, which is the love of charity, and it is in this respect that an act comes to belong to the perfection of life, since as St Paul says that " the bond of perfection." Now, of all virtuous acts martyrdom is the greatest proof of the perfection of charity: since a man's love for a thing is proved to be greater, according to the degree that he sacrifices for love those things that are most dear to him, or to the degree that his sufferings for love are more painful. But it is clear that of all the goods in this world man loves life itself most, and hates death most, especially when death comes with bodily pains.

Thus it is clear that martyrdom is the most perfect of human acts, since it is the sign of the greatest charity, according to John 15:13: "Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

4. Is death essential to martyrdom?

A martyr is called a martyr because he is a witness to the Christian faith, which teaches us to despise things that are visible for the sake of things that are invisible, as stated in Hebrews 11.  With martyrdom a man shows by deed that he despises all things present, in order to obtain invisible goods to come.  Now so long as a man has a body he does not show by deed that he despises all things relating to the body.  For men would rather despise their relatives and all they possess, and even suffer bodily pain, than die.  Hence Satan testified against Job (Job 2:4): "Skin for skin, and all that a man hath he will give for his soul" that is, for the life of his body.  Thus the perfect notion of martyrdom requires that a man suffer death for Christ's sake.

5. Is faith alone the cause of martyrdom?

Martyrs are called witnesses, because by suffering and dying they bear witness to the truth which is in accordance with godliness, and was made known to us by Christ.  Christ's martyrs are His witnesses. The cause of all martyrdom is the truth of faith.

The truth of faith includes not only inward belief, but also outward profession, which is shown not only by words, but also by deeds, according to James 2:18, "I will show thee, by works, my faith." For this reason it is written of certain people (Titus 1:16): "They profess that they know God but in their works they deny Him." Thus all virtuous deeds, insofar as they are referred to God, are professions of the faith. Through faith we come to know that God requires these works of us, and rewards us for them: and in this way they can be the cause of martyrdom. For this reason the Catholic Church celebrates the martyrdom of Blessed John the Baptist, who suffered death, not for refusing to deny the faith, but for voicing disapproval of adultery.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Love her


If God has placed a woman in your life then He has greatly blessed you and has also given you a great responsibility. You are to love that woman as Christ loves the Church. 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the church, and delivered himself up for it:
     - Ephesians 5:25

Think about how much Christ loves the Church, and think about how much he wants you to love your wife.

 Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
     - John 15:13

Our Lord will help you to love the woman He has placed in your life as you should.  May you always trust in our Lord and grow closer to Him, and may your strength and love will be founded upon the strength and love of Our Lord. 

Thank you for serving Our Lord and Our Lady.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fortitude of Itself: The virtue of fortitude (123) - Part 2

7. Is it's action directed to it's own good?

There are two ends: proximate and ultimate.

1) Proximate end - introducing likeness into something else, ex: heat into wood, prudence into human deeds.

2) Ultimate end: whatever good occurs as result of proximate end.

Thus, a man with fortitude intends as his proximate end to reproduce a likeness of fortitude, because he wants to act in accordance with his habit: but his remote end is happiness or God.

8. Does it take pleasure in its own action?

There are two parts to pleasure:

1) Bodily - resulting from bodily contact
2) Spiritual - results from deeds of virtue

The primary act of fortitude is to endure things that are unpleasant to the body and soul. The brave man (possessing the virtue of fortitude) receives spiritual pleasure in the act of virtue itself and the end of virtue, but on the other hand he has spiritual sorrow and bodily pain.

The virtue of fortitude prevents the reason from being entirely overcome by bodily pain. Also, the delight of virtue overcomes spiritual sorrow, insofar as a man prefers the good of virtue to the life of the body and what concerns it.

9. Does fortitude deal chiefly with sudden occurrences?

There are two things that must be considered in the operation of fortitude:

1) As a choice - In this way it is not about sudden occurrences because a man thinks beforehand of dangers that may come and he prepares himself, to bear them more easily.

2) As a virtuous habit - In this way fortitude is about sudden dangers since a habit works by way of a person's nature. If a person without forethought acts virtuously in danger this is proof that habitual fortitude is in that person.

Yet it's possible for a person who doesn't have the habit of fortitude to prepare against danger by long preparation in the same way a brave man with fortitude prepares himself suddenly when necessary.

Article 10. Does it make use of anger in its action?

Concerning anger and the other passions there was a difference of opinion between the Peripatetics and the Stoics.

1) Stoics - excluded anger and all other passions of the soul from the mind of a wise or good man. They gave the name of passions to certain immoderate emotions of the sensitive appetite, wherefore they called them sicknesses or diseases, and for this reason separated them altogether from virtue.

2)Peripatetics - of whom Aristotle was the chief, held that virtuous persons should use both anger and the other passions of the soul, modified according to the control of reason.

The brave man employs reasonable anger for his action, but not excessive anger.

11. Is it a cardinal virtue?

The primary or cardinal virtues are those which contain parts that belong to the virtues in common. A common condition of other virtues is to act steadfastly, and fortitude above all other virtues involves steadfastness.

In addition, man shuns pain more than he desires pleasure. Those pains feared the most lead to death, and it is against them that the brave man stands firm. Therefore fortitude is a cardinal virtue.

12. Its comparison with the other cardinal virtues 

Prudence has the perfection of right reason. Justice leads to right reason, since the purpose of justice is to establish right reason in human affairs. The other virtues safeguard right reason when they moderate the passions. Fortitude is first after prudence and justice because fear of death has the greatest power to make men turn away from right reason. Thus the order among the cardinal virtues is prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance.