The Christian life is a supernatural life. That is what sets it aside from the world. The Supernatural life is the life of God within us. It is the inner sanctified life that leads us to work toward union with God and the divine life we hope to enjoy in heaven.
Jesus said: “Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3v3) Jesus is talking about a new life not the life that we are born with but a further supernatural life that raises us higher than anything we have or can have in our own human nature.
As Christians we know that this supernatural life is the gift we received in baptism because, Jesus further adds: “Unless a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3v5). This supernatural life we cant get by our own natural powers. There is nothing that we can do of our own violation that can give us a supernatural life of grace. We can make ourselves available to receive grace but we have to realise that the supernatural life is totally organised in us by God.
Having received this gift from God we must increase it and we know from the many parables Jesus taught that God will expect a return on His investment in us. He expects to see us bear fruit from the graces He gives us. We must use the grace to become more holy and as we spend these graces in using virtue He will increase the grace accordingly. We cannot sit still in the Christian life we must be ever increasing in Virtue.
Both Christians and non-Christians can have high standards in their character. They can exhibit:
- Natural Virtues
- The Four Cardinal Virtues
- 1. Prudence, 2 Justice, 3 Fortitude, 4, Temperance.
- These Virtues can be increased with practice and desire.
Christian “Infused” Virtue
- The Christian virtues are often called “infused virtue”.
- Good actions do not automatically spring from scarifying grace.
- Grace gives us POWER to do good.
- The ‘grace-power’ is infused into our souls
- It is up to us to us to use the grace by using the supernatural Virtues.
I recall a women saying to me that she used to attend morning mass until she observed that so many of the other women went to communion and afterwards went to coffee together and did nothing but mock, scorn and deride their neighbours. She was scandalised and stoped going for this reason. (she said). Obviously no one in this situation was using the graces they received at the Holy Sacrifice.
Faith, Hope and Charity are called TheTheological Virtues because they have God as their direct object. It is through these Virtues that we direct our lives to God. We have faith in God and His teachings. We hope He will take us to Heaven when we die. We Love God with all our heart, with all our strength and all our soul.
Faith comes into play as we receive God’s message about heaven and our real home. Our Faith ensures we believe in the message of Jesus Christ.
Hope gives us confidence that we will in fact attain our perfect end in Jesus Christ in heaven. We start out on the long struggle with the virtue of Hope and it is Hope that keeps us going. It is Hope that makes us rise again when we tumble into sin.
Charity is the Love we have for God which is due to Him. Charity unites us to God.
On the other hand the infused virtues help us in our relationships with other people.
The four Cardinal Virtues are given in nature to every human being to use or to ignore. It is the cardinal virtues that are the foundation that God uses to increase grace in the soul of the Christian. God ignites these virtues in the Christian and with grace gives them new life in Him. So as we practice these Virtues our lives take on an extra dimension. The soul dimension where God interacts with us His children.
The Virtues are then perfected by the Gifts of the Holy Ghost as He drenches our souls with grace
The Gifts of the Holy Ghost
- Fear of the Lord.
These gifts are needed by the Christian to sustain and grow the Cardinal Virtues and the Theological virtues.