Fr. Kurt Pritzl on Fortitude

Fortitude is a virtue because and when it is linked with prudence and justice, and it is a virtue for us Christians when it is linked with God’s prudence and God’s justice. When we know the right, noble, and loving thing to do (prudence) and we are able to overcome our innate drive just to care about ourselves rather than to be balanced, fair and just (justice), then our perseverance and endurance in acting for the good, despite difficulties, and our patience in the face of obstacles, opposition, and setbacks constitute genuine fortitude.
When we realize the link, tie, bond of courage to what is right and just, growing in courage becomes easier—we are willing to act more and more courageously, to hang in there more often in the face of difficulties and resist the inevitable tendency to despondency about the struggles we face, precisely because the effort is on behalf of what is good and right. We are not just suffering or struggling for no reason or for their own sakes, as if that would make us better persons or make our world a better place. We are actually making ourselves and our world a better place, by persisting in the right and good and loving, despite the difficulties. Towards the end of today’s gospel, Jesus talks about the harvest being ready and that some sow and others reap. What we do in our lives as Christians over time, whether we actually see the results or not right away, is to help with the harvest of salvation.

An excerpt from a homily on the virtue of fortitude, part of a series on the Cardinal Virtues given at St. Peter’s Church on Capitol Hill, 2005. The full text is available from the School of Philosophy site at The Catholic University of America.

Father Kurt J. Pritzl, O.P., was awarded CUA’s Fortitude medal by President Garvey posthumously in April of 2011. The Prior of the Dominican House of Studies, Fr. Giles Dimock, O.P., received the medal in Fr. Pritzl’s honor.