Choose a topic from Part 2B:

144. Shamefacedness

1. Shamefacedness is a recoil from what is disgraceful; itis a drawing or shrinking back from what is base. In a broad sense,shamefacedness is a virtue. But, more strictly, it is to be calleda praiseworthy passion, and not a virtue. It lacks the fullperfection of a habit steadily inclining the will to good.

2. Shamefacedness has to do with action. It is not shamefor the disgrace inherent in a vicious habit, but for the disgracefeared as the result of a bad deed contemplated or alreadyperformed. It is the shrinking from deserved reproach or ignominyfor something vile that is proposed for doing, or for a vile thingalready done.

3. A man is more likely to fear and to feel shame beforethose who are closest to him (his relatives, friends, andacquaintances), than before strangers. People unknown to a person,people in whose society he does not regularly move, inspire smallshame; disgrace suffered before the eyes of strangers is quicklyforgotten.

4. A man may become so immersed in evil that he losesshame, and may even boast of doing what is shameful. There areothers in whom a lack of shame is not disgraceful, that is, peopleof sound virtue and aged people; these lack shame, not as by adeficiency, but they regard any shameful action as something soremote from themselves as to be negligible and worthy of no thoughtor concern. Of course, these persons are so disposed that if (by awell-nigh impossible supposition) they were to do a disgracefulthing, they would be ashamed of it.

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

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"The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you."
Thomas á Kempis

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"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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