Choose a topic from Part 2A:

66. Equality Among Virtues

1. A virtue in itself is not capable of being greateror lesser. But in its subject (that is, in the person whohas it) a virtue can be greater or lesser at different times; itcan be greater or lesser in different persons at the same time.

2. And virtues, by comparison with one another,can be greater or lesser. St. Paul says that charity is greaterthan faith or hope. But different virtues in the one subject arenot properly to be compared and called greater or lesser. Thefingers of a perfectly formed hand are of different sizes, yet theyare proportionally equal inasmuch as each finger is fitted to itsown proper use. So it is with virtues in a person.

3. Considered in themselves, the intellectual virtues aremore excellent than the moral virtues, for they pertain to theintellective part of man, while the moral virtues regulate thepassions which are essentially of the sensitive part. Butconsidered in the service which they render to man, the moralvirtues are more excellent than the intellectual virtues; they domore to get a man on towards his last end.

4. The chief moral virtue is justice. Justice regulatesoperation, so that everyone shall have what is exactly right anddue. Thus justice is most closely allied with reason itself, whichis the mean or measure of all the moral virtues. Other moralvirtues are subordinate to justice. In the descending order ofexcellence, we have justice, fortitude, temperance; and all ofthese are suffused with prudence.

5. Among the intellectual virtues, wisdom is the greatest.Wisdom exercises judgment over the other intellectual virtues,directs them, and, as a master architect, builds with them.

6. We have the testimony of Sacred Scripture (I Cor.13:13) that charity is the greatest of the theological virtues. Ofcourse, all the theological virtues have God as their object, andon this score there is no greater or lesser among them. But charityis closer to that common object than are faith and hope. Faithpertains to what is not yet seen; hope, to what is not yetpossessed; charity, albeit imperfectly, possesses its object in thepresent clasp of love.

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"God looks neither at long nor beautiful prayers, but at those that come from the heart."
The Cure D'Ars

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