Several posts ago, I shared the 4 Simple Steps to Holiness. Today, I am going to focus upon Step 3–Growing in Virtue each Day.
The beginning of growth in virtue comes from a place of humility and understanding of oneself. This self-knowledge needs to be well-formed in light of Scripture and Church teaching so that we may honestly see our predominant weaknesses and then be able to cultivate the virtues necessary to overcome those weaknesses.
The struggle to know oneself is a great challenge, but there are two parts that we need to be attentive–both our human formation and our spiritual development in virtue.
Human formation includes things like determining our temperament, natural learning style, gifts, talents, skills, passions and interests.
Development of virtue rests upon our discovering our predominant sins. This means understanding the seven deadly sins–pride, anger, envy, sloth, greed, gluttony, and lust, and which ones we struggle with the most, so we then we can focus upon cultivating the virtue that mitigates the vice.
For example, I personally struggle a great deal with impatience. Impatience is rooted in anger that I am not in control of the situation or person that I am encountering, and this anger leads to my impatience which can be expressed in a myriad of ways–none of which are good! LOL So, to counter this vice, I strive for patience. To be patient with the person I am encountering, or to realize that I am not in control, and to let go of my need to be in control.
This is just one example of how self-knowledge can help us grow in virtue. Another tool to help us is a Plan, or Rule, of Life. A Plan of Life is designed to assist us in finding balance in all aspects of our lives–the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual–as we pursue the end for which we were all created–holiness.
But any attempts to grow in virtue must be rooted in the foundation of our daily prayer and the resolution that should emerge from our conversations with our Lord. It is He who needs to be guiding our efforts, otherwise, it just becomes our self-improvement project, rather than being transformed more and more into His image–which is what the Way is all about.
Know of my continued prayers for each of you, and hope to see you on the Way tomorrow.