It seems fitting to begin the academic year focusing on the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love. These virtues are infused (given) at Baptism and orient us to God or draw us into friendship with Him. They are essential to our living as disciples—as friends (John 15:15).
Let me frame the understanding of these virtues around friendship. First, think about your closest friend and the essential aspects of your relationship—to know, trust, and love. If any of these aspects are weakened or missing, your relationship suffers. This also applies to your friendship with God. In order to live in harmony and peace with Him, you also need to know, trust and love Him.
To know is faith. Faith enables you to believe in God and His Divine Revelation. It requires your intellect to study and be willing to learn about the revealed Truths in Scripture and Tradition.
To trust is hope. Hope enables you to desire God and to trust Him in good and difficult times. It requires an act of the will to trust in Him and know He will bring good out of every difficulty. Ultimately, your hope lies in dwelling in the household of God.
To love is charity. Charity enables you to love with God’s love which extends beyond self to others. To love God is an act of the will and is lived more readily when you know and trust Him.
When we live in God’s grace, that is, in friendship with Him, these virtues aid us to see the world with a divine perspective. The fruit is an interior harmony and peace that steadies our spirit and opens us to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we find ourselves more patient, kind, affable, courteous—in sum, more virtuous. May this be our aim during the new academic year—to make a difference in a culture that seems confused and divided.
Next week, I will offer some practical tips on nurturing these virtues.
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