As we seek to learn how faith helps us understand moral teaching, I am reminded of a biblical passage from the letter of Saint Paul to the Romans:
“For what can be known about God is evident to them because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made”( Romans 1:19-20).
At the time of Saint Paul’s letter, the Romans were for the most part pagans, unknowledgeable in the faith, yet they possessed the innate knowledge of the Natural Law written on their hearts, which enabled them to discern right from wrong. How much more could be discerned with an understanding of moral teaching on the virtues! That brings another passage to mind, this time, from the letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians:
“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Phil 4:8).
Saint Paul calls us to practice the moral teachings on the virtues by applying faith as the foundation for all of our actions. With faith and reason as our guide, along with the innate knowledge of Natural Law, we are capable of choosing the path described by Saint Paul in his letter to the Philippians to live a virtuous life.
With today being Ash Wednesday, perhaps it might be a good idea to follow Saint Paul’s instructions and pick a virtue to practice this Lenten season. You can refer to the Virtues Guide for some suggestions. If you haven’t yet gotten your guide, click on the “Free Guide” tab at the top of the home page on the website, or click on the link to the right on the home page of the website to download the guide in .pdf format.
What has your faith done for you to help you develop a strong moral character? Enter the conversation in the comments section.
As we practice the virtues and moral teachings, we must also persevere in the faith. What does it mean to “persevere in the faith?” We’ll discuss that in our next reflection on the virtue of faith. You won’t want to miss it!