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129. Magnanimity

1. Magnanimity (which literally means large-mindedness),is a kind of stretching forth of the mind to great deeds. Now, anact or a deed is great, either (a) when it is the best use of thebest things, and this is absolute greatness; or (b) whenit is the very good use of a lesser thing, and this isproportional greatness.

2. Among external things, high and true honors are thebest. With respect to possessing these honors and manifesting themnobly, man is said to be magnanimous.

3. Magnanimity shows itself in greatness of courage forobtaining or defending what is noble and honorable. It is areasonable, regulated, and settled habit of mind; hence, it is avirtue.

4. Honor is the reward of every virtue, and thereforemagnanimity has a reference to all the virtues. Yet it is a specialvirtue, for it focuses upon a special phase of good.

5. Magnanimity accords with fortitude in strengthening themind and will to endure difficulty in view of a noble end. Thusmagnanimity is a part of fortitude.

6. Cicero seems to indicate magnanimity when he assignsconfidence as a part of fortitude. Confidence is a firmtrust or hope in an assurance given, whether by the word of a man,or by the condition of affairs. Since confidence means strong hopethat good will be attained despite difficulties, it is a nobleexpectation that appears to belong to magnanimity.

7. Security is not the same as confidence; securitydenotes freedom from care and fear; it consists in being strongagainst worry, and enemies, and misfortune. Thus, security belongsdirectly to fortitude, whereas confidence belongs directly tomagnanimity and, through magnanimity, to fortitude.

8. In so far as goods of fortune (riches, power, friends)are honorable in themselves and are apt instruments for virtuoususes, these goods are conducive to magnanimity.

"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."
St Philip Neri

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"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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"A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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