Last week, I concluded the teachings of the gifts of the Holy Spirit and wanted to illustrate the organic unity of the virtues and gifts by offering and explanation of the Virtue Tree.
This virtue tree is a fitting metaphor for the life of virtue. Just as the roots of a tree hold it in place, so do the theological virtues root us in God. “Charity is like the sap that nourishes the trunk and rises into the branches, the network of virtues, to produce the delicious fruit of good works. It is through this new love revealed and shared in Christ that the Holy Spirit works in us” (Servais Pinkaers, OP, Morality: The Catholic View, St. Augustine’s Press, 2003, 87).
The four main branches of the tree represent the cardinal virtues upon which all good habits hinge. When we are open to the grace of God at work in us through the gifts and virtues, we are able to flourish. A thriving tree soon becomes a home to birds and small animals. The person fully alive in Christ is able to welcome others, sharing with them the riches he or she has received.
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