Our World Needs Us to Live Lives of Virtue
By Bishop David J. Malloy
How can we live better in this increasingly crazy world? That thought probably passes through the minds of many of us often. 
We see the immorality that is daily placed front and center before us by our increasingly secularized society. In Illinois abortion is expanding as is approval of gambling and drug use. Nationally, we hear the uncivil and personally destructive rhetoric of our political leaders on both sides. The advancing ideology of gender ignores God’s work of creation in each of us, giving us the gift of being male or female. 
We look outside of our country and see the waves of people fleeing their homes, and the injustices from Venezuela to North Korea.
In some ways it all seems too much. These troubles are so pervasive, and there seems to be little or nothing we can do to stem the tide. We can feel like the Apostles who sought to wake Jesus as their boat was taking on water by crying out, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mk 4:38)
The Apostles, at that moment, were looking at what was going on around them, and they were losing hope. Water was probably coming into the boat. Arms were most likely aching from what seemed like fruitless rowing. 
Like us, the Apostles were challenged even to keep their faith and trust. That’s why, after calming the winds Jesus asks them (and us), “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” (Mk 4:40)
Part of our response of faith is, precisely, to keep rowing. That is, to continue to live rightly even in hard times. That is what we mean by living a life of virtue. 
And in the midst of our increasingly pagan culture, that is how we must witness to ourselves and to the world.
To live a life of virtue means to be committed to developing habits and intentions to do what is truly good at every moment. 
Of course we would all like to look at ourselves and say, “I do that all the time already.” But in fact, because of original sin, every one of us is wounded. 
Each of us has a tendency to wander from God’s way by laziness, by the desire to fit in with the crowd, or by a personal share in the pride that caused the fall of Satan.
There are human virtues that we can develop to counter those temptations. For example, the cardinal or foundational virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. 
By prudence, we learn to use our practical wisdom, guided by our faith, to choose what is of God. That will mean studying our faith and praying over daily choices and decisions.
By justice, we seek at all times to render to God and to our neighbor what is due to them. This makes us look profoundly at how we love God and our fellow men and women.
Fortitude is a character trait that does not give up, does not back down, when we encounter difficulties or unpopularity. 
And temperance is that healthy restraint in the pursuit of earthly goods or the desires and instincts that are part of our nature.
These virtues do not simply develop in us by accident. They require effort. 
Parents, how important it is that you teach such values to your children hourly, daily and over a lifetime. We ask God’s grace for these gifts but they must be combined with our own efforts carried out over the entire span of our earthly days.
How do we respond to a world that seems out of control? 
We start by living according to the example of Christ in our own lives and families. That is what we mean by a life of virtue.