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Apologetics 101: Half the Battle

Avoiding sin is not the same thing as growing in virtue.

  • Think of the human heart. One beat of the heart has two phases–the systolic phase and the diastolic phase.

  • Systolic refers to the heart collecting blood and diastolic is when the heart sends it out into the body.

  • The heart needs both of these functions to work properly, every second of every day!

  • The same is true of the Christian life. There are two phases we need for us to be healthy but it seems most of us only do one of them!

  • All of us know that we need to avoid sin. Every child in religious education classes knows this. But avoiding sin is only one of the two critical phases, like the beating of a heart.

  • The other one is growing in virtue! We need to avoid sin and grow in virtue!

  • The Church teaches that virtue is an “interior disposition, a positive habit, a passion that has been placed at the service of the good” (CCC 1803, 1833).

  • You can say that virtue is excellence that has become habitual.

  • Let’s use the practical example of impatience and patience. Impatience is a vice, patience is a virtue.

  • Everyone knows we need to avoid impatience; but we will never become free of impatience unless we also are actively pursuing and working on patience! Do you see the difference?