Virtue strengthens and encourages us under all tribulations

November 21, 2021 • 4 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 213

To the direct action of grace we must add that of the virtues, each of which, in its own way, strengthens the afflicted soul.

When the heart is oppressed the blood rushes to it to facilitate its movement, to strengthen its action. So when the soul is oppressed by suffering the virtues hasten to assist and strengthen it.

First comes Faith with her absolute assurance of the eternal happiness of heaven and the eternal misery of hell. She tells us, in the words of the Apostle, “that the sufferings of time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come that shall be revealed in us.” [Rom. viii. 18.]

Next comes Hope, softening our troubles and lightening our burdens with her glorious promises of future rewards.

Then Charity, the most powerful help of the soul, so inflames our will that we even desire to suffer for love of Him who has endured so much for love of us.

Gratitude reminds us that as we have received good things from God, we should also be willing to receive evil. [Job. ii. 10.]

Resignation helps us recognize and cheerfully accept God’s will or permission in all things.

Humility bows the heart before the wind of adversity, like a young tree swept by the storm.

Patience gives us strength above nature to enable us to bear the heaviest burden.

Obedience tells us that there is no holocaust more pleasing to God than that which we make of our will by our perfect submission to Him.

Penance urges that it is but just that one who has so often resisted God’s will should have his own will denied in many things.

Fidelity pleads that we should rejoice to be able to prove our devotion to Him who unceasingly showers His benefits upon us.

Finally, the memory of Christ’s Passion and the lives of the Saints show us how trivial our sufferings are, and how cowardly it would be to complain of them.

Yet, among all the virtues, hope consoles us most effectually. “Rejoice in hope,” says the Apostle; “be patient in tribulation,” [Rom. xii. 12.] thus teaching us that our patience is the result of our hope.

Again, he calls hope an anchor, [Heb. vi. 19.] because it holds firm and steady the frail bark of our life in the midst of the most tempestuous storms.

Strengthened by these considerations and by God’s unfailing grace, the just endure tribulation not only with invincible fortitude, but even with cheerfulness and gratitude.

They know that the duty of a good Christian does not consist solely in praying, fasting, or hearing Mass, but in proving their faith under tribulation, as did Abraham, the father of the faithful, and Job, the most patient of men.

Consider also the example of Tobias, who, after suffering many trials, was permitted by God to lose his sight. The Holy Ghost bears witness to his invincible patience and virtue. “Having always feared God from his infancy, and kept His commandments, he repined not against God because the evil of blindness had befallen him, but continued immovable in the fear of God, giving thanks to God all the days of his life.” [Tobias. ii. 13, 14.]

We could cite numerous examples of men and women who even in our time have cheerfully and lovingly borne cruel infirmities and painful labors, finding honey in gall, calm in tempest, refreshment and peace in the midst of the flames of Babylon.

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