What's your favorite virtue?

Around half a year ago, I noticed a curious agreement of two classic spiritual books: Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, and The Spiritual Combat by Fr. Lawrence Scupoli. This was the agreement: to grow spiritually, one must have a particular virtue to aim for…a special or favorite virtue to cultivate. According to the books, the reasons for this are

  1. When someone is just beginning his path to Christian perfection, it is better to focus his still meager spiritual and moral energies on one virtue rather than many.

[D]o not aim at all sorts of virtue-----nor even many-----simultaneously, but cultivate one firmly, then another, if you wish such habits to take deep root in your soul with greater facility. (Source)

  1. The perfection of one virtue inevitably leads to the improvement, sometimes simultaneously, in the practice of other virtues, and vice versa.

[R]eflect that anyone strenuously engaged in the pursuit of anyone virtue, unconsciously advances in the practice of the rest. Moreover, the attainment of anyone to an eminent degree inevitably introduces a great perfection to the others as they are, like the rays of the sun, almost inseparably united. (Ibid.)

[W]hen a good man endeavors to perfect himself in some virtue which he is conscious of specially needing, he ought to give it edge and point by the aid of other virtues, which will themselves be confirmed and strengthened as he uses them with that object. (Source)

Both works gave instructions on how to choose and practice your special virtue. In the Introduction to the Devout Life, this is tackled in general in Part III, Chapters 1 and 2, then suggestions on practicing particular virtues are tackled in their own chapters.

In the Spiritual Combat, they are tackled in Chapters 34 to 41 and even beyond .

So I am curious, do you have your own special “favorite” virtue? :wink: If so, what is it? If not, what do you think it should be? Don’t worry if you cannot think of anything right now, or if you are not sure. In my own experience, picking that particular virtue can be frustrating.

Soon after noting that observation of the two books, I immediately set out trying to find that special virtue. I originally thought it was preaching in the Internet (:smiley: I know, that was hilarious), but it did not, well, feel right. I then thought chastity because I had so many bouts of succumbing to Internet pornography and stuff, but I got meager results, if at all. I then thought it was calmness of mind, because I had a short temper and easily depressed. And yet again, I was getting nowhere. I kept on thinking and internally analyzing myself…and I prayed…although I honestly did not pray that much. I was only when I started praying earnestly around three months ago with the novena of my hometown’s patron, Our Lady of Hope, when I then found that special virtue: Hope. And it was so obvious I remember :doh2: 'ing myself a few times.

A few months practicing the virtue of hope has helped me with my feelings of depression and anger, as well as making my prayer life much more fruitful…although I know I have a looooooooooooooong ways to go :thumbsup:

So what’s your favorite virtue? :slight_smile:

Great topic - you could have a whole thread just talking about a single virtue. I think what you’ve done with hope is a good approach - choosing a virtue that is opposed by a major problem area in your life, such as you’ve done with the virtue of hope to combat depression.

A virtue that I like to work at is humility. An approach I use is prayer, confession, and learning about humility through spiritual reading. These things help me identify ways in which I am prideful and work at mortifying those things.

Here are some of my favorite sources of information/prayers on this virtue:

Litany of Humility

Mother Teresa’s Rules of Humility

St. Benedict’s 12 Steps to Humility

Charity is not puffed up
From The Practice of the Love of Jesus Christ by St. Alphonsus Liguori.
There is a wonderful prayer for humility at the end of this chapter.


My favourite virtues are: Justice and Truth.
I try hard to be right in all I do, I try hard never to tell a lie.
I try hard to tell the truth as it is, without hiding what I dislike and showing what I like.
The world hates me.

LOL, Benedict. You can pick any virtue and get the same results!

Humility, it’s the only one I’m astoundingly good at. :stuck_out_tongue:

Lovely thread. I will have to read all the links on this thread. :slight_smile: :smiley: :heart: :heart: :heart: :heart: :smiley:

One question, on the virtue of truth. Is it a virtue to always plain-spokenly speak the truth, or is it a virtue to know and spread the truth? Christ often spoke in parables because he said that others were hard of heart. Mary “hid all these things in her heart.” Might it not have been possible that no one knew the mystery of the birth of Christ until after Christ’s death? I thought of the virtue of truth as adamantly defending the truth and leading others to the truth, but I always thought that “for everything there is a season,” “for everything there is a time.” So timing is also very and of extreme importance… I struggle with this virtue and may very soon need to ask my spiritual director about a truth-spreading endeavor I am doing before I pursue it outside of the will of Christ. :blush:


Great post.
I struggle with the same thoughts.
I wish there was a good spiritual director near my home.
In the meantime, I rely on the Bible.
Did Jesus not die for having insisted that He was the Son of God?
Was He not OFTEN adamant in his expressions? Like , for instance : He who doesn’t reap with me scatters" or “He who is not with me is against Me”?
Did the prophets not die for having spread the truth, that the Jewish people were not obeying the will of God?
Did He not lose a lot of followers for saying that you have to eat His flesh and drink His blood?

My favourite is generosity. Not that it’s the most important though.
I am big on justice too.
I believe that striving for just one cardinal virtue increases all.
God bless:thumbsup:

Like Beckymarie… the virtue I would most like to cultivate is humility. I have heard it said, that all other virtues spring from the virtue of humility.

Beckymarie… thanks for all the helpful links. God bless.

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