Growing in Virtue: Fortitude

Just to live a normal Christian life these days can call for a heroic effort and you need a lot of strength. Sometimes you can’t even go to the grocery store to buy lunch meat without being attacked by impurities, whether it is the music they are playing in the store that is talking about something sexual or the magazines that are at the checkout counter, or what you might see someone wearing (or maybe not wearing) in the store. And that is just one example, you can probably think of so many more. It is necessary for us to grow in fortitude if we really want to obtain the holiness and greatness God has planned for us.

The first way to grow in any virtue is by asking the Lord for that virtue. Lord, give me strength, please give me fortitude! Remember that he who asks shall receive. The Lord gives the graces that we need, but we have to make an effort too. After asking the Lord for His help you have to get to work, here are some easy and hard ways.

Easy Ways

1. Don’t complain about the sufferings and inconveniences that come up during the day, and if you want to grow even stronger, offer them up with a smile. It sounds easy, but it can be harder than you think. Offer up the heat, the cold, the annoying thing the person next to you is doing, the construction workers drilling the sidewalk outside of your apartment, etc. If you take time to think, you will probably come up with more things during the day that can usually cause you to complain.

2. When you have an opportunity to choose what you are going to eat, eat whatever is less appetizing to you. If you aren’t allergic to it, then it won’t kill you and it will make you stronger. Here is a way to become stronger and overcome your desire to have what is most pleasing.

3. Don’t always choose the most comfortable seat or couch. Make a sacrifice; become stronger than comfort.

4. Don’t be so quick to react or talk back when others give opinions. Forfeit the last word and grow stronger in patience.

Harder Ways

1. Be discreet with the information that is shared with you. A lot of times we can be conquered by our desire to tell everyone everything that has been mentioned to us in confidence. Or the opposite, we want to know everyone else's business. If you refrain from these two temptations you win a battle over your curiosity and indiscretion, growing in strength.

2. Break away from any kind of relationship that is damaging your closeness with Christ, whether it is a friendship or a boyfriend, girlfriend, or fiancé. We tend to stay in those situations even though we know they are not good because we lack strength to tell the other person “no, this is enough.” Overcome wanting to be esteemed by others, leave the relationship, and grow in fortitude.

3. Conserve and defend your virginity. It seems like this concept is laughed at now a days, if it is even considered. In reality it shows that you have a great respect for your dignity and the dignity of others. It also shows that you do not let your passions control what you do, but that your dignity and principles mark your way of acting.

 Either He will shield you from suffering or He will give you unfailing strength to bear it." St. Francis de Sales

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