Search Words

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Virtues - Part 1

Most of you are familiar with the previous discussions on the Passions, which I summarized in this chart:

Now, it is time to get familiar with another chart (sorry, I tend to do this because I'm a visual learner):

This chart will invariably annoy theologians, professional and amateur alike, because it does not have a strict Patristic lineage as my previous chart does.  But, my intention is not to reproduce theological discussions, but provide a framework for understanding the human condition.

What this chart of virtues does is shows what happens to a passion once it is 'cured.'  Each of these virtues are to be found in the writings of the Fathers, and I challenge anyone to a light-hearted discussion about whether any ancient Christian source would reject any of these virtues.

The difficulty with the Passions chart is that it paints a rather bleak picture.  Certainly, sin is bleak and despairing, but Christianity and recovery are both far from being morbidly despondent.  Both promise joy.

The problem is that most people don't know how to be joyful.  They have forgotten what real happiness looks like, and so they have no idea which way to go.  This chart is designed to point out what happiness looks like as it emerges from us in action.

This is critical: just as the passions naturally emerge from our lack of faith in God, the virtues naturally emerge from faith.  You can't really 'fake' these, and self-will alone is not enough to have these virtues come on a regular basis.  While we may have to 'force' ourselves to act appropriately at times, unless we do the real work up the chain, our attempts will soon fail.

These virtues must emerge from within.  Over the next few posts, I will try to explain more about how these virtues come out and impact our relationships with others.

1 comment:

  1. It is very difficult to fake any of the virtues, or at least to do so convincingly. Piety can be a little more disarming but even so the fruits of piety should be marked by compassion,tolerance, moderation and self-control and a spirit of service.