THE ART OF
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
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.