Fortitude is the sanctifying gift that allows a Christian “to overcome difficulties or to endure pain and Suffering with the strength and power infused by God.” Fortitude operates under the impulse of the Holy Spirit, and gives strength to Christians to resist evil and to persevere to everlasting life. This gift enables Christians to live heroically other virtues, to suffer with patience and joy, and to serve God with conviction and enthusiasm. Fortitude allows us to cope with poverty and loss, and to cultivate Christian virtues. The gift manifests in courage against comfort, evil spirits, human respect, and improper fashions.
The ultimate sacrifice is sometimes necessary to stand for rightness and to save our souls. Fortitude is the virtue of the martyrs who are willing to die rather than to renounce their Faith. The sacrifice may be passive, but it is conscious, resolute and determined..
Thomas More was Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII from October 1529 to May 1532. More opposed the Protestant Reformation, specially the theology of Martin Luther and William Tyndale, whose books he burned and whose followers he persecuted. More later opposed the King’s separation from the Catholic Church and refused to accept him as Supreme Head of the Church of England because it disparaged papal authority. Tried for treason, More was convicted on perjured testimony and beheaded on July 6, 1535. Pope Pius XI canonized More in 1935 as a martyr of the schism of the Church of England from Rome, and since 1980, the Church of England has liturgically remembered More as a Reformation martyr.
When Jesus sent his disciples on mission, He asked them to wait until Pentecost to receive the Holy Spirit. He gave the apostles and the disciples the new strength promised by Jesus in his farewell (John 16:8-11) and at Ascension: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit descends upon you” (Acts 1:8; Luke 4:49).
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, which the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you” (John 14:16-17).
The Holy Spirit confers Fortitude at Confirmation, and the main Fruits of Fortitude are charity, patience, continence, and perseverance in holiness.