What is Virtue?

Virtue is rather misunderstood in today’s culture. I think the confusion lies in the contrast between seeing virtue only on a social or secular level (civic values), on the one hand, and viewing virtue on a spiritual transcendent level, on the other. The confusion is heightened because we use the same word to describe both dimensions of virtue.
For example, the virtue of acceptance on a secular level implies under-tones of resignation, submission, and sometimes even appeasement. However on the spiritual level the same word carries no such “baggage” and is regarded best as embracing the fullness of the truth, beauty and goodness in you that offers true happiness.
  • Virtue is everywhere, yet virtue is often hidden in plain sight. Unless we intentionally seek the virtues by looking with the eyes of Christ then virtue is all but invisible.
  • Virtue gives us the light to ‘see’ goodness; without virtue we live in darkness.
  • Virtues are intangibles; they cannot be seen in the material form because virtue is not of this world; virtue only comes from God.
  • Virtue gives life to our personality, elevates our mind, and gives abundant richness to our spirit.
  • Virtue grants us the “good life” of peace of mind and heart regardless of our material circumstances. As brother Steindl-Rast tells us, Who among us would not give their right arm for a grateful heart?  
Virtue is a condition of the soul (not a mere characteristic) that is always potential, but only rarely emerges to its fullest flower.
Virtues are the tools that when animated by divine grace, transform our lives toward hope and position our hearts toward love.
We already possess the virtues in a great divine reservoir within us; our problem then is not the absence of virtue but rather the motivation to tap into this great pool of grace already given.
My research into the distribution of virtue among God’s people informs me that each of us has inclinations, perhaps a “natural talent” to develop certain virtues rather than others at different times of our life course. This inclination seems to expand over our lifespan so that in each stage of our spiritual development we are inclined toward different virtues. I believe this to be the work of the Holy Spirit actively distributing virtues according to our needs at the moment.
This finding explains how we can best meet the demands of the life challenges we now confront. I have seen this to be true in the lives of my counseling patients who seem gifted by the power of one virtue over another so they can rise above the immediate life problem and navigate above, over, and beyond the problems that confront them.
I take great consolation that the Holy Spirit is always at work in my little corner of the world… I trust it!
Virtue connects you to God’s truth, beauty and goodness that together form the foundation for true inner happiness.