The virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in July is diligence. Diligence is the effort to do one’s part, while keeping faith and reliance in God.  Diligence is almost the same as hard work, constancy or staying the course. St Paul explained it  in his letter to the Hebrews saying, “We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” What does this mean? Hard work and diligence pay off. These two virtues also show that you care about something or someone. When you practice hard to become the best dancer or baseball first base man – it is because you care and you want to be the best. It means you probably love dance or love baseball. We work hard for things we care about and this goes for the people we care about too. If we care about God, our family, friends, our work, school – we will be diligent in our effort to get things done. Laziness does not come from love – except maybe self love.  Diligence and hard work only come about where there is love and care.

 St John Vianney was a saint who worked hard to the point of exhaustion to help those in need. He once said, “Virtue demands courage, constant effort and above all, help from on high.”  He recognized that virtue was not easy.  He was a saint and it required effort on his part to be a good person.

On the back of the Challenge Holy Card for July, you can find The Student’s Prayer to help you pray when you are a little overwhelmed by life, school and the future. Sometimes we hesitate to work hard because we don’t know which way to go. Praying will help give us to clarity to know where to go and be diligent in our efforts each day.   “God, I stand before You in the midst of confusion & complexities of life. My future sometimes seems distant & unknown. Give me the vision to see the path You set before me. Grant me the courage to follow Your way, Amen.”

The Catechism #1810  speaks of how virtue requires hard work and diligence. “Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are purified and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous man is happy to practice them.”