“Virtue can not take root without the help of temptation…Faith, hope, charity, chastity and patience and every virtue must be tried. Otherwise there would be no virtue.”
C.S. Lewis once said that our morning prayer should begin like this: “Lord, grant me to make an unflawed beginning today, for I have done nothing yet.” Well, we may never be able to change all of our bad habits, but we can wake up every morning and resist. We are creatures of habit and by making a habit of morning prayer, it will help us to honestly look at the obstacles and flaws in our lives that we keep for our own, and hide from God. God promises that if we live virtuous lives, we will be happy. Is this easy? No, it is not easy at all. What is virtue and how is it acquired?
Virtue is a habit that is in all ways directed to do good. It is manifested by our free will acting in a very deliberate way to give the very best of ourselves. The Human Virtues help to keep our dispositions stable and help to guide our actions, passions and conduct in line with reason and faith. The Theological Virtues help us as Christians to live in a right relationship with the Holy Trinity, keeping God as the object of our faith, hope, and love of Him. We may try to handle temptations ourselves, but we must remember that there are no efforts of our own will that can end our temptations, only God can. God helps us by means of his Holy Spirit and if we direct our thoughts to goodness and make this a habit and persevere in these virtues, they become purified and elevated by God. Failures in this matter are forgiven since God has delivered us from evil, by means of the death and suffering of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Peter Semenenko once said, “Virtue can not take root without the help of temptation…Faith, hope, charity, chastity and patience and every virtue must be tried. Otherwise there would be no virtue.” So let’s begin this year by getting rid of the Old to make room for the New!