The Virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in the month of April is Fortitude. What is fortitude and courage? Someone who practices fortitude perseveres in their commitment to do good, even in the case when they must sacrifice their own self for it. Fortitude is a virtue we need to ask God to help us with. We need to find our strength in knowing he loves us and is with us. It involves great self-sacrifice. There are different types of fortitude and courage people show in hard times:
PHYSICAL STRENGTH or COURAGE: Sometimes tough situations call for us to be strong physically to help someone or to persevere. That is why it is so important to take care of your health and be strong.
PSYCHOLOGICAL STRENGTH or COURAGE: Psychological fortitude allows us to face tough situations with enthusiasm, a positive attitude, and even joy. That is why it is important to learn to think positively in both easy and difficult situations.
SUPERNATURAL STRENGTH or COURAGE: As a Christian virtue and a gift of the Holy Spirit, spiritual fortitude is strongly linked to hope and faith. We believe in the love that God has for us. The gift of fortitude can allow us to do unimaginably great things. This type of strength and courage comes from a deep faith in God.
During the Last Supper Jesus is teaches his apostles what to do and not to do. Jesus knows that the next day he will be taken prisoner and be crucified. He has to say goodbye to his friends, he will be humiliated, beaten, tortured, and killed unjustly. He will suffer a great deal, so he goes to the Mount of Olives (nicknamed because it is an olive tree orchard. The 2000 year old trees are still there today.) It was a moment when the apostles were facing an unknown future and they feared many things without Jesus at their side. Many times in life we are faced with unknown situations that can leave us fearful and scared. St Paul also felt this way and he once wrote, “So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.” St Paul felt that same fear as the 12 apostles. He wanted to be with Jesus but knew his time had not yet come. Jesus speaks about peace being something God wants us to have. Not just any peace, but deep inner peace that is like the calm deep in the ocean floor, even though waves crash above. Jesus also speaks about fear. He said do not let your heart be troubled or afraid… in other words – don’t worry! Fear cripples you and makes you freeze in your tracks. It is not something that a Christian should have. We need to believe in God and have courage.
St Ignatius of Loyola’s Prayer for Courage
O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness and we feel our weakness and helplessness, give us the sense of your presence, your love, and your strength. Help us to have perfect trust in your protecting love and strengthening power, so that nothing may frighten or worry us. For, living close to you, we shall see your hand, your purpose, and your will through all things. Amen
The Catechism number of the month is all about fortitude. It is number 1808 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church
“Fortitude is the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.”