Some distinctions between types of virtues

January 14, 2022 • 2 min

From The Sinner’s Guide, page 454
By Venerable Louis of Granada



A merchant about to purchase precious stones should learn something of their relative value, if he would make a wise selection. In like manner a Christian should have some knowledge of the intrinsic merit of each virtue to aid him in making a proper choice.

The virtues of which we have been treating may be divided into two classes, the first of which includes the more interior and spiritual virtues, the other those which are exterior or sensible.

To the first belong the three theological virtues, which have God for their immediate object; and the virtues which facilitate the accomplishment of our duty to God, such as humility, chastity, mercy, patience, prudence, devotion, poverty of spirit, contempt of the world, denial of our own will, love of the Cross and mortification, with many others to which we here give the name of virtue in the broadest acceptation of the term.

These are called interior and spiritual, because their action is chiefly within the soul. Nevertheless they are often manifested to the world, as we see, for instance, in the virtues of charity and religion, which produce a number of exterior works to the praise and glory of God.

The exterior virtues are fasting, mortification, pious reading, vocal prayer, chanting of the Psalms, pilgrimages, hearing Mass, assisting at the offices of the Church, with all the outward ceremonies and practices of a Christian or religious life.

Though these virtues, like the others, have their seat in the soul, yet their action is always exterior, while the acts of the spiritual virtues, faith, hope, charity, humility, contemplation, contrition, or repentance, are often entirely within.

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