FORTITUDE

THE VIRTUE OF FORTITUDE

FORTITUDE: A cardinal virtue and gift of the Holy Spirit. Fortitude is a disposition to achieve good even when this demands suffering, pain, or even great effort. This virtue gives the Christian the will and strength to overcome whatever obstacles are encountered in the course of following the way of the gospel. Under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, it prevents succumbing to temptations, and in so doing it facilitates and promotes Christian life in general.

Fortitude enables a person to face serious challenges, with some measure of calm. Fortitude gives us the strength to endure suffering for a just cause. It is therefore, the virtue of courage, by which one overcomes an instinctive fear in order to pursue the good. Fortitude, therefore, has an active and a passive side. It's active side has to do with taking bold action for the sake of the Kingdom of God; it's passive side has to do with enduring some pain, suffering, or even death for the sake of the Kingdom.

Without fortitude growth is impossible, because we can grow in and through adversity. We can be ennobled by suffering -- not that we ever seek it or embrace it for its own sake. Fortitude, then, is our affirmative answer to the inevitable shocks of human existence. It is the ability to dare and to endure.

Without fortitude we suffer frustration. We become restless and tense, aggressive and destructive against the perceived sources of our frustration, apathetic and sullen, prone to fantasy and escapism, rigid and locked into comfortable routines, or simply regressive, returning to familiar modes of behavior characteristic of an earlier stage of development.