The Virtue Driven Life

Fr. Benedict J. Groeschel, C.F.R.
Our Sunday Visitor
Number of pages: 
158 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This is a beautiful and helpful little book that explains and elucidates on the Cardinal Virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance) and Theological Virtues (faith, hope and charity) in a helpful and accessible way. The idea is to examine and understand the idea of trying to live a virtuous life in a day and age in which "virtuous" is practically an insult.

Each virtue is covered in a chapter of about 15-20 pages. Each virtue is explained in practical and spiritual terms and with clear distinctions made between the natural and supernatural manifestations of each virtue. Each chapter concludes with a set of discussion/reflection questions and a prayer.

Father is a great story teller and uses this ability to great effect in helping the reader understand these ideas. The book is engaging, relevant and (a great virtue in itself!) short.

Here is a brief excerpt from the chapter on Fortitude:

Pope John Paul II was a seminarian in Poland during the days of Nazi occupation. Had he been found out, it would have meant death or transferal to a slave labor camp. Throughout his life he remained an example of courage. Courage means strength or fortitude in danger, but also in the daily round and challenges of life. It might take more courage just to get up on certain days than it would to face a great danger. Difficulties, setbacks, misunderstandings, failures, deep hurts - all of these requrie coraggio.

This moral virtue is recognized and admired by all people. Every nation that has grown, developed, and made its mark on history has had its heroes and stories of courage. One of the signs of a society in decline, like our own, is the absence of admiration for people of courage. Our country was founded by men who said in effect, "Either we hang together or we will hang alone." Signers of the Declaration of Independence were ipso facto traitors to the British crown, to which they owed allegiance. Had htey been arrested, they would have been liable to death.


Sadly, we don't admire courage much anymore in our country. There is no message of courage. The Vietnam War memorial in Washington shows three soldiers with terror written on their faces. Older war memorials show courage. It is a natural virtue that makes people willing to face extreme danger or to endure great difficulty over a long period of time in order to accomplish a decent goal they have set for themselves. It is to be distinguished from bravado, or foolhardiness, which characterizes a selfish, egotistical goal.

This is an excellent book for Catholics looking to live out their faith more fully. It's particularly designed for a small discussion group and would be suitable for older teens as well as adults.

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