This past Wednesday, August 10, our Holy Father, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on Vice and Virtue. This week he taught on the virtue of Fortitude.

Think of what is needed to live our Christian faith well. Fortitude is a virtue that requires one to have a strong will in the face of temptation and worldly difficulties. In other words, it takes ‘guts’ to live the Christian life. But the courage and strength of fortitude does not rely solely upon one’s own resources. We need the Grace of God to be the primary source of our strength. The Holy Father put it this way:

Fortitude is first and foremost a victory against ourselves. Most of the fears that arise within us are unrealistic, and do not come true at all. It is better, then, to invoke the Holy Spirit and face everything with patient fortitude: one problem at a time, as we are able, but not alone! 

General Audience, August 10, 2024

During this Easter season, thousands of people receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. This is indeed the liturgical season of the Holy Spirit! I will confirm another group this evening, making this the fifth evening in a row to bestow this gift of the Holy Spirit upon our people.

Over 100 people confirmed in one Mass at Immaculate Conception, North Vernon. These are mostly parishioners from St. Charles parish in Burlington.

This past Monday, the Holy See issued a document on the infinite dignity of the human person. It reaffirms our teaching that human dignity is inherent in every human life because we have been created by God the Father, recreated by the Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Spirit we achieve our full capacity to reflect that image and likeness of God in this life. We do not bestow this dignity upon ourselves, nor does anyone else. There is also a reference to a famous quote of St. Irenaeus who said: “The glory of God is man fully alive. The document further states:

Consequently, the Church believes and affirms that all human beings—created in the image and likeness of God and recreated[34] in the Son, who became man, was crucified, and rose again—are called to grow under the action of the Holy Spirit to reflect the glory of the Father in that same image and to share in eternal life (cf. Jn. 10:15-16, 17:22-24; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph1:3-14). Indeed, “Revelation […] shows forth the dignity of the human person in all its fullness.”

Dignitatis Infinita

The Easter season is a moment each year, by listening to the biblical accounts of the resurrection of Christ, and celebrating the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation, we are reminded of the tremendous love of our God, and how this love has unfolded down through salvation history. Each member of the Baptized is invited to renew our faith and life in the Risen Jesus and to be even more cooperative with the power of the Holy Spirit at work in us.

By God’s grace, won for us by Jesus Christ, and our willful cooperation of every fiber of our being (fortitude) we grow in conformity to Christ, and thereby give glory to God by the way we live.

Our life begins in God, and this entire life on earth is a journey of faith which is a return to God for all eternity. The Lord has promised to remain with us. The psalmist says:

The Lord is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.

Psalm 145

So, my friends, let us struggle with all our strength, gutting it out when necessary, to reach the fullest potential for which God created us. Let us call upon the Lord so that he may draw near and grant us the grace to live a life that gives glory to God!

My favorite dismissal for Mass sums this up nicely: “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.”