Why do we need to develop the virtues?
Arguably, the cornerstone of the moral life is the theological and the cardinal virtues. Each of us can recognize that our human nature is wounded due to the effects of Original Sin because we experience every day that it is very difficult to maintain a moral balance in our lives. We know that we must combat, above all, the selfishness and pride which hinders the perfect love for God and our neighbour to which we are called. Living virtuous lives helps us to live in true peace and joy, because we ‘not only perform good acts but give the best of ourselves’ (CCC 1803). Therefore, we should all want to pursue this goal. However, developing the virtues is not something that we simply accomplish through our own will power. ‘Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to persevere in the pursuit of the virtues’ (CCC 1811). At the core of all virtue is love and actions are needed to express this love.
The theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity are infused along with sanctifying grace into the soul of the person at Baptism. These virtues are supernatural, meaning that they are above our nature. These virtues form the foundation of the Christian life because they bestow on us the capacity to live in a relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This relationship consists in acting as God’s children by believing in Him and everything that He has revealed to us; hoping in His promises because we can trust Jesus, who says, ‘He Who made the promise is trustworthy’ (Heb.9:23); and loving our neighbor because of our love for Christ.