Growing in virtue helps us grow out of sin. The more we practice habitually doing good, the less we habitually sin.
What is a Virtue?
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “a virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions” (CCC 1803).
Growing in virtue helps us grow out of sin. The more we practice habitually doing good, the less we habitually do bad, or sin. St. Gregory of Nyssa said, “The goal of a virtuous life is to become like God.” If we want to grow in holiness and turn away from sin in our lives, we have to grow in virtue.
If you have certain sins and weaknesses that constantly nag at you, then you can try and rid them out by practicing the opposite, expelling virtues. For example, if you often fall into the sin of pride (love of self), than you should learn practical ways to regularly exercise humility.
The Seven Capital Virtues
The seven “capital” or “lively” virtues, that correspond to the seven deadly sins, help combat the sin in our lives so we can grow in holiness and become more like Christ.
Remember that “a virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself.” (CCC 1803)
Once you figure out which sins you struggle with the most, you can learn about the virtues that will help you get rid of those ugly sins and make you into the best of yourself—the person God created you to be.
Humility Generosity Meekness Zeal Solicitude Temperance Chastity
The three theological virtues “relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity… The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life” (CCC 1812-1813). They are faith, hope, and charity.
“Four virtues play a pivotal role and accordingly are called “cardinal”; all the others are grouped around them. They are: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance” (CCC 1805)
The Ten Commandments
Take time to reflect on the Ten Commandments and how they relate to everyday sins in your life. You can and should use these commandments as a guide to examine your conscience and make a good Confession!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven. The Church gives the name Purgatory to this final purification…” (CCC 1030-1031).
Scripture teaches us that nothing unclean will enter God’s presence in heaven (Rev 21:27). Purgatory provides us with the opportunity to be cleansed of our impurities, so we may be made holy to see the Lord (Heb 12:14).
Regular confession is one of the means to help us on our journey toward sanctity, to help us avoid time in Purgatory. Take time to learn more about Purgatory with the great resources we have provided for you.