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Theological virtues are the answer when we’ve messed up: Pope

Pope Francis during his weekly general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican on April 24, 2024

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 04/24/24

If we are discouraged, God awakens hope in us; and if our heart is hardened, God softens it with His love.

All of us can end up drinking the poison of pride, and just a drop of it is enough to spoil a “whole life marked by goodness,” says Pope Francis.

But also, “if we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit – the Master of the interior life – He revives the theological virtues in us.”

The Pope said this in the general audience of April 24, as he continued his teaching on virtues and vices. Having finished the reflections on the cardinal virtues, he moved on to the theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity.

The Holy Father warned against the “powerful poison” of pride, saying that we need the theological virtues to aim for a good life not just for ourselves. A “drop” of pride “is enough to spoil a whole life marked by goodness.”

“A person may have performed a mountain of good deeds, may have reaped accolades and praise, but if he has done all this only for himself, to exalt himself, can he still call himself a virtuous person? No!”

Our aim for goodness needs to be “stripped of that sometimes too cumbersome presence that is our ego.”

To correct all these situations, which sometimes become painful, the theological virtues are of great help. They are especially so in times of falling, because even those with good moral intentions sometimes fall.

In fact, “we all fall in life, because we are all sinners,” the Pope assured. “Just as even those who practice virtue daily sometimes make mistakes; we all make mistakes in life”:

Intelligence is not always clear, will is not always firm, passions are not always governed, courage does not always overcome fear.

But if we open our hearts to the Holy Spirit – the Master of the interior life – He revives the theological virtues in us: Then, if we have lost confidence, God reopens us to faith; with the strength of the Spirit, if we have lost confidence, God reopens us to faith; if we are discouraged, God awakens hope in us; and if our heart is hardened, God softens it with His love.

Tags:
Holy SpiritPope FrancisVirtue
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