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VIRTUE AND VICE


 

 

THE ART OF DYING WELL

There are three virtues which wonderfully assist men to live and die well. These are sobriety, justice and piety. St. Paul says, "For the grace of God, our Saviour, has appeared to all men, instructing us in order that, rejecting impiety and worldly lusts, we may live soberly and justly and piously in this world."

So the next rule in living well and dying well is "that, rejecting impiety and worldly lusts, we may live soberly and justly and piously in this world."

There are two factors in evil: "the turning away from God and turning towards creatures." Thus, to turn away from evil, we must do two things, too -- reject impiety and worldly lusts. For impiety turns one away from God and worldly desires turn one toward creatures.

Doing good, therefore, we must live "soberly and justly and piously," i.e., being sober toward ourselves, just toward our neighbor and pious toward God.

We must live pious lives without a shadow of impiety. Because we can live a few moments of piety and the rest impiously, like looking at women during mass or talking during mass. 

There can be no justice towards neighbor as long as there is lust for the things of the world. Justice can be simulated in words and tongue but not in deed and truth. And so the holy apostle tells us to reject all worldly lusts to live justly.

Then there is sobriety which is apportioning what is needed for the care and preservation of the body according to reason rather than desire. This is rare among mankind because worldly desires fill up the homes of both rich and poor. Thus, Solomon prayed: "Give me neither beggary nor riches; give me only the necessities of life." And Paul adds: "Having food and sufficient clothing, with these let us be content." Keeping in mind, too, that wealth beyond our needs is not ours but belongs to the poor.

With these three virtues, we may await the blessed hope and glorious coming of our Great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

  

 

 

(11-06-02)

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