Faith, Hope and Love: the three ‘theological virtues’. And what is a ‘virtue’? Virtues are described by the Church as ‘habits’, ‘firm dispositions’, ‘powers’. They are capacities that we have been given. Why are they called ‘theological’? Because they are the holy habits, sacred habits, that lead to life eternal.
Faith, Hope and Love are, first of all, gifts, to be appreciated and lovingly received. We cannot earn them. We cannot gain them by our own efforts. Only God can place them in our lives. They are supernatural gifts. They take us beyond our natural capacities. They are more than the natural giftedness that comes to us at birth. They are the fruits of rebirth, the free gift of grace given to us in Baptism. No-one can make another believe, hope or love; and neither can we generate these virtues out of ourselves, by sheer will-power.