Fortitude: Supernatural Courage

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Fortitude is the sanctifying gift that allows a Christian “to overcome difficulties or 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 persevere to everlasting life. The gift enables Christians to live heroically other virtues, suffer with patience and joy, and serve God with conviction and enthusiasm. Fortitude allows us to cope with poverty and loss, cultivate Christian virtues, and manifest courage against comfort, evil spirits, human respect, and improper fashions.  The virtues are charity, patience, continence, and perseverance in holiness.

Death is sometimes necessary to stand for rightness and save our soul. Fortitude is the virtue of the martyrs who are willing to die rather than renounce their Faith.  The sacrifice may be passive, but is conscious, resolute and determined.

Thomas More was Lord Chancellor to Henry VIII from October 1529 to May 1532.  More 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 Church Schism of England from Rome, and since 1980 the Church of England has liturgically remembered More as a Reformation martyr.

Before Jesus sent His apostles 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)

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