“One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, time’s up!” These nagging words were followed by an aggressive shoulder tap from the next kid in line at the water fountain. I don’t know who created the three-second rule, but that was never enough time for a thirsty elementary-aged student!
We have all experienced the sting of being at the receiving end of an impatient person’s irritability. More likely than not, it was an unintentional jab but uncalled for and unfair to the recipient. On the flip side, you have probably heard the phrase, “Patience is a virtue.” Upon hearing those words, were you convicted of your impatience, or like me, did they make you even more crabby about having to wait?
According to Catholic Answers, moral virtues are special graces given to our souls by God to accomplish particular objectives. Prudence is the grace to form correct judgments. Justice assists us in dealing equitably with others. Temperance is the quality of modification or self-restraint. Fortitude helps us persevere despite temptations to sin and despair. Humility is living modestly. Patience can tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting frustrated or upset. Obedience is compliance with an order, request, law, or submission to another's authority. Chastity excludes or moderates the indulgence of the sexual appetite. Piety is devotion to God and faith. Veracity is the virtue of truthfulness or honesty.
Virtues are essential characteristics of living an authentic Christian life. However, they are subject to seasons of strengthening or weakening. We have to practice living virtuous lives one virtue at a time! Lucky for us, this is where the Holy Spirit can come in handy. With Pentecost around the corner, we can use this time to pray for a deeper anointing in any virtue that may be lacking in our lives.
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. -Matthew 7:7
St. Ephraem said, “Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer
preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to heaven.”
I challenge you this week to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal one virtue that He would like to ignite in your soul next week at Pentecost. I should warn you! The Holy Spirit will give you opportunities to practice that virtue. Sonja Corbett, Dynamic Catholic Author and Speaker, refers to these situations as ‘pop quizzes.’ If you pray for more patience, you might find yourself in situations that require you to be patient. If you pray for fortitude, you might be tempted to give up. If you pray for humility, you might end up in a vulnerable situation.
We can take courage from St. Leo the Great when he says, "Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife." Navigating a virtuous life in a sinful world is not easy! We will experience trial and temptation! However, the Holy Spirit was gifted to us to convict us of sin and to use as an eternal guide.
I will be praying for each of you as we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. May He instill in our hearts a desire to live a virtuous life and may He guide our journey to salvation!
Until next time, your sister in Christ,