Exercising the virtues in ordinary life

Holiness is the exercise of virtues day after day, with constancy, in the environment and in the circumstances in which we live. The "human virtues (...) are the foundation of the supernatural virtues; and these always provide a new impetus to develop with manliness of good. But, in any case, the desire to possess these virtues is not enough: it is necessary to learn to practice them. Discite benefacere (Is 1:17), learn to do good. We must exercise ourselves habitually in the corresponding acts - acts of sincerity, truthfulness, equanimity, serenity, patience - because deeds are love, and we cannot love God in word alone, but only in deed and in truth (1 Jn 3:18).

Although sanctification is entirely God's, in his infinite goodness, he has willed that human correspondence be necessary, and he has placed in our nature the capacity to dispose us to the supernatural action of grace. Through the cultivation of the human virtues - reciprocity, loyalty, truthfulness, cordiality, affability... - we dispose our soul, in the best possible way, to the action of the Holy Spirit. It is thus well understood that "it is not possible to believe in the holiness of those who fail in the most elementary human virtues".

The virtues of the Christian must be exercised in ordinary life, in all circumstances: easy, difficult or very difficult. "Today, as in the past, heroism is expected of Christians. Heroism in great battles, if necessary. Heroism - and it will be the norm - in the small quarrels of every day". Just as the plant is nourished by the soil in which it grows, so the supernatural life of the Christian, his virtues, are rooted in the concrete world in which he is immersed: work, family, joys and misfortunes, good and bad news.... Everything should serve to love God and to do apostolate. Some events will foster more thanksgiving, others divine filiation; certain circumstances will increase fortitude and others trust in God.... Keeping in mind that the virtues form a framework: when we grow in one, we advance in all the others. And "charity is what gives unity to all the virtues that make a man perfect".

We cannot wait for ideal situations, more propitious circumstances, to seek holiness and to do apostolate: "(...) when a Christian carries out with love the most unimportant of daily actions, it overflows with the transcendence of God (...). Therefore, leave aside dreams, false idealism, fantasies, what I usually call wishful mysticism - I wish I had not married, I wish I did not have this profession, I wish I had more health, I wish I were young, I wish I were old... -, and instead, soberly, pay attention to the most material and immediate reality, which is where the Lord is".

To wait for situations and circumstances that seem to us to be good and propitious for us to be saints would be tantamount to letting life pass empty and lost. This time of prayer today can help us to ask ourselves together with the Lord: Is my desire to identify myself more and more with Christ real, do I truly take advantage of the daily incidents to exercise myself in the human virtues and, with God's grace, in the supernatural virtues, do I try to love God more, doing the same things better, with a more upright intention?