Guinness and God – The Human Virtues – Fortitude
YOUNG ADULT TALK AT “GUINNESS AND GOD” FUNCTION
4TH MARCH 2014
CANBERRA – AT LOCAL PUB
LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
FORTITUDE / BE COURAGEOUS
1. “I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY” St Paul
- St Paul, Philippians – from prison sends personal letter to his dear friends and says: “I want you to be happy, always happy in the Lord: I repeat, what I want is your happiness. (4/4)
- God says the same thing to all humanity: I want you to be happy in your lives. I don’t want sadness and hatred. I don’t want hopelessness and despair, jealousy or competition.”
- To be happy we need to lead the GOOD LIFE given by God.
2. VIRTUES – A LITTLE OF PHILOSOPHY
- That is why we start to talk about the VIRTUES. A virtue helps us to get into life habits that promote the GOOD and the TRUE.
- Virtues direct our deepest attitudes (will and intellect) so we can lead good lives and develop correct conduct and order our passions. (CCC 377-378)
- This is not just a Christian conversation. Virtues and their meaning have been talked about for millennium. Plato (Greek Philosopher, 427-347 BC) and Aristotle (Greek Philosopher, 384 -322 BC)
- But Christians (esp. Thomas Aquinas(225-1274, Dominican Italian priest and Doctor of the Church) have given a certain perspective to Virtues
- We talk about Theological and Cardinal Virtues.
- Theological virtues (Faith, hope, charity). Given by God – Grace.
- Cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude (courage) and temperance)
- Cardinal virtues “hinge” theological virtues (God life offered to us) with other human virtues.
- The aim is to lead the virtuous life – attitudes or dispositions for a life of happiness and goodness. Of course we need rules for life that are agreed by everyone too. Otherwise, there would be chaos!
- Does all this sound a little complicated? Welcome to Philosophy! The whole thing is a little like a football game (rugby or AFL!)
- A game of football requires that everyone does two things: Firstly, everyone is expected to play the game well and they should not cheat.
- To play the game well requires the development of good skills (attitudes/dispositions/virtues). These are repeated over and over again to develop and mature good skills.
- In regards to the rules of the game: these concern themselves with particular acts. Do you obey the rules or cheat? Cheating is not playing the game badly – it is not playing the game at all! (=sin) (cf. Herbert McCabe OP, “The Good Life”, 2005)
- Egg. Think about how you might apply this to controversial issues of today. (abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia). I have given you a little foundational platform to stand on when you discuss these issues amongst yourselves.
3. COURAGE (FORTITUDE)
- But you have asked me to look at just one of these Cardinal (“hinge”) Virtues – FORTITUDE (COURAGE)
- FORTITUDE / COURAGE = GIVING FIRMNESS IN DIFFICULTIES AND CONSTANCY IN TRYING TO LEAD A GOOD LIFE (CCC 382)
- Tends to focus on our response to “roadblocks” (difficulties) on our life’s journey towards living out the good life.
- Often these roadblocks are on the level of the emotions. What happens when we are being persuaded/tempted to turn towards what is not good/right but what is evil/wrong? Fears/anxieties/restlessness arises. What to do?
- Courage/fortitude is needed here. St Thomas Aquinas teaches that we are “to be steadfast and not turn away from what is right”. ( ST I-II, q 61, a.2)
- In your life when do
- you /have you needed to show courage – steadfastness, firmness, constancy)??
- St Thomas Aquinas: “Courage is love readily enduring all for the sake of what is loved” (ST II-II, q.123, a.4)
- Martyrdom is the supreme manifestation of courage.
- Courage preserves with what one knows to be good even if it costly in doing so.
- “The chief activity of courage is not so much attacking as enduring or standing one’s ground amidst dangers” (ST II-II, q. 123, a.6)
- 2 EXAMPLES OF COURAGE – ONE PERSONAL , ONE BIBLICAL
- ….. Friend with cancer
- …… David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17/23-54) (ANZACS)
- THE GREATEST COURAGE EVER SHOWN WAS BY JESUS.
- ….BACK TO THE PHILIPPINES (2/5-11)
- ….JESUS “EMPTIED HIMSELF TAKING THE FORM OF A SLAVE”
- ….THE CALVARY CROSS – COURAGEOUS LOVE = AGAPE LOVE