Virtues-Seven Habits of Champions #1: Strength and Weakness

The Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions
by Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.


I. Weakness – strength
A. 2 Tim 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power and love and self-control.”
B. Strong, loving, and wise
C. Meekness is strength under control
D. Virtue comes from the word in Latin for man, manly, strong. “Virile”. Fruitful.
E. Leadership

II. Christ Came for the Healing (restoration) of our humanity: gratia sanans
A. To bring us to reach the greatest potential of our nature
B. Sin corrodes our humanity, dehumanizes

III. Christ came for the Elevation (divinization) of our humanity: gratia elevans
A. To bring us beyond our own nature to the supernatural
B. 2 Pet 1:4, make us sharers in the divine nature by grace
C. Sin cuts us off from supernatural life

IV. The human person as enfleshed spirit
A. Not mere animal, not angel, not “ghost in the machine”
B. Spirit realizes self by interaction with the world through the body
C. Spirit expresses self by interaction with world through the body
D. Two way street

V. Sin: not bad because it is forbidden: forbidden because it is bad
A. Sinful acts weaken & destroy, though in a hidden way
B. People do them because they seem to gain some good; appearances deceive!
C. Eample of wolves lust for blood in the Alaskan winter

VI. Thought > Act > Habit > Lifestyle > Destiny

VII. Role of passions (e-motions): to move us to the good

VIII. Habit
A. Repeated action creates a certain ease, power, in doing that action
B. Virtue means “power”: an act becomes natural for a person.
C. Vice the evil corollary.
D. Difference between a act of virtue & virtuous act: latter springs from the soul with energy, promptness, & perseverance
E. More intense act (evil or good) increases the power of virtue or deepens the bondage of vice
F. analogy of weight lifting: A new max. No pain, no gain!

IX. Cardinal Virtues: The Human or Natural virtues (CCC 1804-5)
A. there are as many moral virtues as there are species of good acts. Thomas treats over 50 in his Summa, but not an exhaustive list.
B. cardinal means hinge: on these 4 virtues hinge all others
C. all other moral virtues are “annexed” to one or another of these
D. theological virtues presuppose and perfect them. Aquinas taught that grace builds on (heals, perfects, divinizes) nature.

X. History & Hierarchy of four cardinal (natural) virtues:
A. anterior to Plato. Don’t know origin. Handed down because other thinkers realized the centrality and importance of these four virtues.
B. Wisdom 8:7 Wisdom “teaches moderation and prudence, justice and fortitude, and nothing in life is more useful for men than these.”
C. St Ambrose (ca. 390 AD) apparently first to call them “cardinal”
D. hierarchy as traditional as the number
E. recognizable as necessary for human life by any reasonable person. Perfected and divinized by power of grace.

This outline appears in the Virtues & Christian Character, Christian Lifestyle and Prayer & Spirituality sections of The Crossroads Initiative Library.

Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio

From a colorful and varied background as a professor of theology, a father of five, business owner, and professional performer Marcellino D’Ambrosio (aka “Dr. Italy”) crafts talks, blog posts, books, and videos that are always fascinating, practical, and easy to understand.  He is a TV and radio personality, New York Times best-selling author, and speaker who has been leading people on a journey of discovery for over thirty years.  For complete bio and video, visit the Dr. Italy page.