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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.

"For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God?"
Thomas á Kempis

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"A tree that is cultivated and guarded through the care of its owner produces its fruit at the expected time. "
St John of the Cross, OCD - Doctor of the Church

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