Virtues: Seven Habits of Champions #5 – Fortitude


A. Peter Kreeft, Back to Virtue. Society was good at the hard virtues a century ago. Now we are good at the soft ones.
B. Epidemic of fear and weakness. We are overly tolerant of evil
C. Fortitude & courage synonyms. Deal with 2 diff emotions Fear & Anger
D. Definition of Fortitude: willingness to suffer personal injury, even death, for the sake of truth and justice.” The virtue that enables us to take risks. Virtue of irascible (fear & anger) passions. Preserves the good. Clears the way for doing it. (CCC 1808)

II. Fear
A. We are vulnerable, fragile, creatures. We can use life & health. Given to animals & us. Impulse to cause us to flee from danger, death, hurt.
B. But we often fear the wrong thing. Peer pressure causes us to do dangerous things: drunkenness, premarital sex, drugs. Fear disapproval of friends more than
C. Prudence helps you know if a fear is rational, whether to flee when fear
D. Fear of failure: ridicule does not kill you. Genuine fear: Neglecting a serious responsibility. Failure to take initiative.
E. Fortitude is the strength that makes fear subordinate to what is right & true. Keeps you from acquiescing, giving in to, cooperating with evil

III. Anger
A. God’s wrath:
B. Given to us to provide us with the energy to go after and attack evil and injustice.
C. Love the sinner and hate the sin. Anger gives you the energy to go after the sinner and restrain him from doing harm.
D. Duty to attack evil: In Old Testament. God gets angry when people fail to go after the enemy, dislodging the Canaanites. David’s response to Goliath a good example of righteous anger and aggressive fortitude.
E. Anger is the proper response to injustice.

IV. Fortitude
A. Passive: Keeps us from running away from a confrontation
B. Attack: use anger right to go after evil and attack it.
C. Fortitude is not foolhardy and wasteful: mean between cowardice and rash, foolhardy daring
D. Thomas More as example of passive fortitude & the balance involved
1. Balance: prudence
2. Fool throws self against something that is evil with no chance of victory. Waste.
3. Coward: shrinks from duty due to fear.
4. Friend & Chancellor under Henry VIII. Did not rant & rave against the king. Family. Did not need to speak. Strong signal to those inEurope. No legal grounds. Preserve his life while protesting.
5. Thomas would not compromise with evil.
6. Caving in to the king and lying would injure his own integrity, greater injury than the king could inflict upon him.
7. Fortitude understands that the loss of life is not the greatest tragedy, but rather the loss of one’s soul

V. Doing the Good involves injury and hardship: Annexed Virtues of fortitude
A. Patience
1. Be careful what you
2. Dealing with hardships with serenity and cheerfulness
3. Children a gift
B. Perseverance
1. Go out start doing something. Didn’t know it was going to be so hard.
2. Sticking with your call as multiple obstacles crop up
3. Thomas Edison: 10,000 failures. Turns misfortune into a learning experience.
4. Maintains vision
VI. Dimensions of Fortitude
A. Lack of Fortitude one of the biggest problems in the church
B. Bishops fearful of confronting priests; priests of people, people of others
C. Attack: not necessarily violent Aggressive
D. Catholics are not pacifists. Couldn’t have a police force. Sniper in Wash DC: must be stopped, even if it takes deadly force. Just war theory.
E. Only the state can do this: not take justice into ones own hands
F. Taking initiative to confront and restrain evil
G. Evil: the lack of a good that ought to be there:
1. Example of loss of 18-35 yrs olds. Lack of evangelization
2. Poverty: an objective evil
3. Sickness & disease
H. In Acts: boldness is one of the most common words
I. Gift of the Spirit of Fortitude. Peter proves that fearful people can change!

VII. 4 Cardinal Virtues
A. When you have all 4, you are a leader
B. All of us are called to be leaders.
C. Most are called to be parents; parents must be leaders; therefore most are called to rise to leadership and must acquire the character necessary
D. Sheep who become Shepherds
E. Can’t happen without grace

VIII. Discussion Questions
A. Name some irrational fears that paralyze people. How about you?
B. Name some things we really should fear.
C. Which annexed virtue under fortitude do you need most? Patience or Perseverance?
D. Discuss examples of fortitude in Scripture.

This outline appears in the Virtues & Christian Character, Christian Lifestyle andPrayer & 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.