Perfecting Basic Virtues

If I had such a category, this post should rightly fall under, “Things I Should Have Known A Long Time Ago But Didn’t”.

Recently I was reading an article by Father William Most  called, “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit”, in the EWTN online document library.  At one point in the article, Father Most tells us that the  gifts of the Holy Spirit (of the sanctifying category) each perfect certain basic virtues.  Four of them perfect intellectual virtues and the other three perfect virtues of the will and appetite

Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel and Knowledge perfect intellectual virtues, while Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord perfect virtues of the will and appetite.

  • Wisdom perfects charity in order to judge divine things;
  • Understanding gives an intuitive penetration into truth;
  • Counsel perfects prudence;
  • Knowledge perfects the virtue of hope;
  • Fortitude perfects the virtue of fortitude (courage) in facing dangers;
  • Piety perfects justice in giving to others that which is their due.  This is especially true of giving God what is His due;
  • Fear of the Lord perfects temperance in controlling disordered appetites.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been praying for seven virtues as part of my daily prayers since my consecration to Mary, but now I will begin praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well.  If the gifts perfect the virtues, then I hope and trust that this will bear fruit – the fruits of the Holy Spirit.


8 thoughts on “Perfecting Basic Virtues

  1. This really was enlightening! I, too, wish they had been defined with such depth in so few words. This has been most revealing to me! Thank you!

  2. That seems so deep, so complicated, so difficult. Admittedly, I’m still working on trying not to snap at my husband–at least until he is awake. Perhaps I’d better read Fr. Most’s article.

  3. For myself too, Cathy, but it needs pondering, as C says. The one I’m thinking about most right now is knowledge perfecting the virtue of hope. Trying to think of examples, situations, etc. Would love to hear any of your ideas about that one, or any of the others as well.

  4. Well, because these delineations act on my mind as a big warm woolen blanket — so that I end up thinking that any of the Gifts can perfect any of the Virtues — I tried looking it up. Naturally, I only found (right across the board, but differing even one from another!) whatever seems to contradict Fr. Most on your particular question. Perhaps I was given dark chocolate raspberry creams instead of knowledge, but whatever, I’m sorry– I can’t provide any clarification.

  5. C, oh dear. Well, I guess there could be many different theological perspectives; they can probably all at least help us to reflect on these things from different viewpoints, and allow us to find connections we hadn’t seen before.

    Jackie, will do. Thanks for visiting.

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