Friday, January 15, 2010

The Virtue of Fortitude

In his Modern Catholic Dictionary, Fr.John Hardon defines fortitude as follows:
"FORTITUDE. Firmness of spirit. As a virtue, it is a steadiness of will in doing good in spite of difficulties faced in the performance of one’s duty.

"There are two levels to the practice of fortitude: one is the suppression of inordinate fear and the other is the curbing of recklessness. The control of fear is the main role of fortitude. Hence the primary effect of fortitude is to keep unreasonable fears under control and not allow them to prevent one from doing what one’s mind says should be done. But fortitude or courage also moderates rashness, which tends to lead the headstrong to excess in the face of difficulties and dangers. It is the special virtue of pioneers in any endeavor.

"As a human virtue, fortitude is essentially different from what has come to be called animal courage. Animals attack either from pain, as when they are wounded, or from fear of pain, as when they go after humans because they are angered, whom they would leave alone if they were unmolested. They are not virtuously brave, for they face danger from pain or rage or some other sense instinct, not from choice, as do those who act with foresight. True courage is from deliberate choice, not mere emotion. (Etym. Latin fortitudo, strength; firmness of soul; courage of soul.)"
An impressive example of fortitude in recent times is found in the story of Rose Hu.

As a young Chinese woman in Shanghai, Rose Hu had been formed by the Legion of Mary. Before long, she found herself being persecuted by the Communists for her Catholicism. She was incarcerated for the faith in prison and labor camps from 1955 to 1981.

Early during this ordeal, she spent several months in solitary confinement. While there, she kept the faith with a daily routine that included "hearing Mass" from memory, making a spiritual Communion, praying the Rosary, and other spiritual practices.

Her inspiring story can be found here:
An audio file where she tells her story
(Click on the third link from the top of the page for a free download)
       A book that can be purchased via this link:
       Joy in Suffering

Source:   Hardon, Fr. John A.; Modern Catholic Dictionary (1999); online version.

Botticelli's "Fortitude", from Wikimedia Commons. In the public domain.


Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Thanks for this post..

Marie-Jacqueline said...

Thank you, Jackie. I appreciate your support.


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