Olympic Virtue

Seton Magazine | 9/19/2014 | John Clark
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John Clark shares this surprisingly simple advice from a holy priest on how to take a virtue that you already possess to new heights and change your life.

Last year in this space, I wrote a column about Father Frank Papa, a good friend who passed from this life far too soon.

Father - Papa

If Father Papa had lived to be 100, it still would have been too soon for those who knew and loved him.

There was just so much more wisdom he could impart—so much more wisdom that I needed to hear. A few weeks ago, as I was making my weekly Holy Hour, I was thinking about some of his wisdom.

Something - Penitents - Graduates - Phases - Life

It was something he used to advise his penitents. Especially for you graduates, and all of you who are moving on to new phases of your life, I wanted to pass that wisdom on to you—because it can change your life.

Father Papa’s advice was to get better at your best virtue.

Explanation

This requires some explanation.

For reasons that are often unclear, many of us have one virtue—whether it’s chastity, charity, empathy, faith, patience, kindness, hope, forgiveness, or humility—that seems incredibly hard to practice.

Side - Virtue - Virtues

Happily, on the flip side, many of us have one virtue that is more easily practiced than the other virtues.

Some combination of nature, nurture, temperament—and of course, grace—combine to make that one virtue achievable without tremendous difficulty. Father’s advice was to get better at that one.

Logic - While

It seems a bit counterintuitive to work on what you are already good at, and the logic of it took me a while to figure out myself.

But I think what Father was saying was this: if you can take your strongest virtue to an Olympic level, it radiates outward to positively influence all the other virtues.

Instance - Kindness - Virtue - Chastity - Becomes

For instance, if you excel at kindness, the virtue of chastity becomes...
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