Book Access - "The Role of the Virtues in the Christian Life" Ch. 4 of "Virtue Stands in the Middle" Dr. Gustafson

The Role of the Virtues in the Christian Life - Ch. 4

Dr. Christopher Gustafson, STD is a Catholic theologian in the United States. GPQ did an interview with him in January of 2022 on his upcoming book, Virtue Stands in the Middle, which you can access here. He has graciously offered to share parts of his upcoming book on virtue. The work not only delves in Catholic tradition and teaching on virtue and vice, but offers access to many images of the symbolism and iconographic tradition of the Seven Lady Virtues. Below is access to chapter four.  

"The Christian virtues are intimately linked to our relationship with Jesus Christ. We become ever more godlike or Christlike as we grow in the life of virtue. St. Paul calls this process “putting on the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 13:14). We clothe ourselves with Christ and His virtues. It is common for Christians to have an encounter and relationship with Christ Jesus. But many Christians fail to grasp that the personal transformation accompanying this new life in Christ occurs in large part on the level of virtue. Of course the virtues go hand-in-hand with the life of prayer. And St. Teresa of Avila states that the life of prayer and the life of virtue actually advance at the same rate. But while Christians are typically convinced that they must pray, they are far less convinced as to the importance of the virtues. The virtues are of quite secondary concern. What are the components of the Christian life in pursuit of holiness? The Second Vatican Council gives a somewhat comprehensive list which culminates with the exercise of the virtues: “These actions consist in the use of the sacraments and in a special way the Eucharist, frequent participation in the sacred action of the Liturgy, application of oneself to prayer, self-abnegation, lively fraternal service and the constant exercise of all the virtues” (Italics mine; Lumen Gentium n. 42). The exercise of all the virtues is a key component to life in Christ and the pursuit of Christian holiness."