Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Emoji Virtues!? Guest Post by Cathy Gilmore from Virtue Works Media

Virtue Works MediaPlease welcome guest blogger and Virtue Works Media Ministry founder, Cathy Gilmore! Let’s see what Cathy has to say about emoji virtues!?

Emoji Virtues in our emotions? Is that even possible?

When we encounter characters in the books we read, the movies and TV we watch, as well as in the ever-unfolding story we call real life, we can witness virtues. Virtue comes alive in people’s beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, decisions and actions. But, how often do we consider the way that virtue can operate in human feelings and emotions?

A lifetime of research by a Catholic spiritual psychology pioneer, Richard Johnson, PhD. revealed that we  have special spiritual strengths, otherwise known as virtues; which specifically operate in the part of our personality whose function is emotion. He identifies Joyfulness, Trust, Devotion, Empathy and Gratitude as personality traits that we can cultivate as holy habits of virtue in a unique way in our emotions. Often, we think of emotions as something reactive; triggered by some new situation, or a recalled memory. However, through the miracle of virtue, aided by God’s grace, we can be INTENTIONAL about our every thought and action. Surprisingly, this intentionality applies equally to our emotions also. So, in short, yes, there are Emoji Virtues. We can make them a priority in the internal routine of our lives!

Do You Let Pride and Fear Rule Your Life?

It is interesting to note that our media and entertainment often portrays lives that ricochet between emotional extremes. We are led to believe that mankind is a slave to reactive emotions. Dr. Johnson’s spiritual strengths personality paradigm illustrates the way pride and fear produces two ugly extremes, that typically confound each of the virtues. We know them as vices. Modern entertainment and media relies on these exaggerated self-serving emotions, to intensify the drama in a story or, to improve the edgy appeal of a movie or a show.

Many stories demonstrate the pride driven force that distorts:

  • joy into a never-satisfied euphoria,
  • trust into a skeptical self-reliance,
  • devotion into a love that allows abuse,
  • empathy into insincere flattery,
  • and gratitude into indebted subservience.

Other stories show the power of fear to build interior habits that are the empty absence of emotional virtues. Joy becomes dejection. Trust becomes insecurity. Devotion is replaced by fault-seeking. Empathy becomes detached obtuseness, and blame replaces gratitude.

As of late, the daily news shows us, on a 24/7 basis, the societal carnage that is unleashed when slavery to emotional reactivity, and recklessness, dominates the way people express their feelings. If you want further documentation for this phenomenon, you might be interested in the new book Strange Contagion, by Lee Daniel Kravetz. In it, we are warned about the toxic effects of contagious viral emotions.

Are You Hungering for a Deeper Goodness?

Perhaps our society is behaving badly because our minds, hearts and souls are starving for visual and narrative food that strengthens virtue. It’s not that there aren’t enough books to read, or programming to watch. Expensively produced excellence in popular films and literary works can now be accessed on every kind of device.  But, we hunger for a deeper goodness. So, we now gravitate toward lower budget reality shows and self-published survival memoirs, because they often include:

  • the true joyfulness that smiles through difficulty,
  • the confident reliance of committed trust,
  • the selflessness of loving devotion,
  • the sharing of someone else’s feelings through empathy,
  • and honest appreciation expressed in sincere gratitude.

There is nothing so refreshing as the way virtue sparkles in the eyes of the one who exercises it as a grace infused habit. That spark delights the soul of the one who observes it.

We Long for the Nobility of Virtue

As a culture, we are suffering in the absence of, and longing for the nobility of, virtue. Perhaps most notably, we are starving for the virtues expressed through emotion. We can intentionally build spiritually strong habits of emotional virtue inside of us. How so? It can be as simple as reading a book or watching a movie. However, with so much media poisoned with emotional toxicity, we need help finding and focusing on quality literature and media that is radiant with the light of virtue.

How to Feed the Soul with Virtue

Virginia Lieto and other great authors and bloggers are doing a fabulous job creating quality content; pointing readers to great storytelling of this caliber. Like them, we, too, can train our eyes to look at our entertainment choices through the lens of virtue. If you want to discover more about how reading and the entertainment media can cultivate habits of virtue in children and adults, then please subscribe to www.CatherineCGilmore.com. I affectionately call my site, Virtue Ink. I post practical virtue-infused articles monthly. This is also where I share progress updates on the ministry I founded called, Virtue Works Media.

A Spirit Inspired Resource Called Virtue Works Media

Blogs and booklists can point us to individual examples, or small collections, of good content. What if we had a hub; pointing us to thousands of reading and entertainment choices, that could help us to recover from spiritual and cultural malnutrition? This is the motivation behind the new Virtue Works Media ministry. This online platform will provide easy access to a large, exclusive collection of simple-to-search information. It will link everyone to high quality books, movies, TV shows and more; with two things in common:

  1. The storylines are wholly consistent with values of the Ten Commandments. If negative situations are portrayed, they are resolved in a redemptive way.
  2. The stories demonstrate living, breathing, and sometimes gut-wrenching virtue.

The five virtues, highlighted in this article, are part of a list of 30 Everyday Virtues, that will be at the heart of a virtue-based media content rating system, offered by Virtue Works Media. Curious to know more? Check out the informational website at www.VirtueWorksMedia.com.

How You Can Get Engaged – Grow in Virtue

Nearly two years of research and preparation has gone into creating the ministry operation plans, setting up a non-profit organization, and doing smaller scale pilot tests of some of the methods to help families cultivate virtue in their homes, through entertainment choices. We are moving into the foundation stage to establish a strong financial footing and finalize our choice of a web development team. This endeavor needs prayer partners, financial patrons and creative collaborators. So, please pray that God will continue to bless this project. All of us need this valuable support system so much!

More about Dr. Johnson, PhD…

The descriptions in this article regarding the virtues of emotion, and of their pride and fear based extremes, are based on his inspired faith and diligent research. Find out a little more about Dr. Johnson and his work at the Johnson Institute. He helps adults from mid-life through maturity to embrace each day with spiritual strength, healing, wholeness and joy.

Catherine C. Gilmore’s Biography

I’m Cathy Gilmore. Author, Virtue Advocate and founder of the Virtue Works MEDIA Ministry.  Subscribers to my CatherineCGilmore.com/Virtue Ink site will be among the first to know when Virtue Works Media platform is fully operational. If you’d like a sneak peek at the types of quality virtue-rich titles we will highlight, follow this link: Five FAVE Top Ten Lists . It’s a list of 50 virtue-packed books and some movies, all grouped by age levels. (It includes Virginia’s wonderful children’s story about the virtue of patience…of course.)

My children’s books are: Little Lamb Finds Christmas (in which the virtue of trust in Jesus can enable even a lion and lamb to lay down together) and Easter Bunny’s Amazing Day (in which a little bunny discovers the true JOY of Easter is… Jesus!) Recognizing the power of storytelling to transform lives, I now promote fiction, biographies, memoirs, movies, videos and more that have virtue at the core from both religious and non-religious sources. My goal is to use modern technology to make it far simpler for all of us to seek what is truly good in reading and entertainment, and thus enable the goodness of virtue to renew our society from the inside out.

This post was shared with Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.

If you would like to purchase an autographed copy of my book, Adventures of Faith, Hope and Charity: Finding Patience, then click here.

3 Responses to Emoji Virtues!? Guest Post by Cathy Gilmore from Virtue Works Media

  • Agreed.

    A key phrase, I think, is “nobility of virtue.” I grew up in contemporary culture, and can sympathize a bit with folks who assume that “nobility” and “virtue” are at best silly relics from embarrassingly silly old movies and melodrama.

    I don’t agree, but have seen too much sentimentality being marketed as faith to think that folks who reject all ‘traditional religion’ are willfully obtuse.

    Christian faith has not been treated well by American culture, at least. My opinion.

    It is a relief to see someone who realizes that emotions are part of human nature: but not necessarily trustworthy by themselves. Certainly not as an ersatz bedrock on which to build anything important.

  • I find myself going back to older televisions shows and I do read a lot of blogs by women who have overcome adversity to go on and encourage other in God’s Word. I can’t say I am a fan of reality television, if there’s a program that is a quality one, fine. But I still like fictional people, a good book or movie.

  • What a great post, Cathy! Spot on.

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