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VIRTUE AND VICE


 

 

VIRTUES

That is the best virtue that stands not upon others'  judgment but upon one's own conscience; as the apostle says -- "Our glory is this. . .the testimony of our conscience" and again -- "Let every man prove his own work, and so shall he have glory in himself only, and not in another." 

Comparing virtue to a human body, she is described thus: her mouth is wisdom and understanding, and she has the knowledge of spiritual hymns. Her heart is acquainted with Scripture and sound doctrine and benevolence and kindness; and as without this last there is no living, so without that other is never any salvation. Yea, for, from that, all her excellences have birth. She has also for feet and hands the manifestation of her good works. She hath a soul too -- godliness. She hath likewise a bosom of gold, and firmer than adamant, even fortitude; and all may be taken captive more easily than that bosom may be riven asunder. And the spirit that is in the brain and heart is charity.

Virtue, being a gift of God, can only be obtained of Him who alone has the power of giving it.

The two highest virtues are:  first, to avoid sins, that they should never be done  and to amend them when they have been committed. The second is to refer everything to God, to consider nothing to be our own, to do nothing out of regard to men's opinion but to what God wills.

Sts. Augustine and Chrysostom

 

 

  

(12-29-03)

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                                                                                        - Teresa of Avila

 


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