The Virtue of the month for Challenge and Conquest in the month of January is Integrity. Integrity is defined as the adherence to moral principles. Congruence in thought, spoken word, and deed. Honesty or trustworthiness. It comes from the Latin word integrare, which means to make whole; to present something in its entirety. Integrity is the virtue of practicing what one preaches. Or more importantly, practicing what one believes is right. “Actions speak louder than words. Let your words teach and your actions speak.” -Anthony of Padua. A ‘person of principle’ is not a person who understands a principle, but rather one who understands, accepts, and lives by a principle.
The first and most important reason to practice one’s beliefs is that if they are right, you will be benefiting your own life. To understand other virtues or principles, and not act by them, is destructive. It is an act against your own best interest. Another reason to practice integrity is in dealing with others. Trust can develop, since others will come to realize you are consistently virtuous. To act without integrity, even occasionally, will leave others distrustful. This can negatively impact one’s life in a number of ways. People won’t allow themselves to become emotionally close to you. They won’t trust that you’ll pay back debts. They’ll always fear your betrayal.
In the bible, Jesus encountered a dishonest man who did not practice what he preached. This man, Zacchaeus was dishonest and shady and stole from people but his encounter with Jesus changed him. From that moment on, he knew he had to be a person of integrity and honest with God and others. He started to put into practice what he knew was right. There was no middle ground in the truth for Jesus. He gives this lesson on integrity to his apostles because life is made up of little decisions which make up the bigger picture of who we are. Honesty and integrity go hand in hand. If someone is dishonest, you don’t trust them and Jesus needed to trust his apostles for the missions they had. Christ shows us that integrity was something he thought was very important for his apostles to live and learn. He knew it would be hard to tell the truth always.
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Praying to the Holy Spirit and asking for the strength to be honest in all that we do helps us to live the virtue of Integrity everyday.
“Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be Holy. Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be Holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is Holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is Holy. Guard me, then, O Holy Spirit, that I always may be Holy. Amen.”
The Catechism number of the month is all about Integrity. It is number 2521 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
“Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.”