Correlation to the Virtues

Teaching of Virtue

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Correlation to the Virtues

As described in Part I, the illustration of the horse and chariot has profound meaning—inspiring us to direct the powerful horses of our passions and emotions toward good and away from evil with the strength of our intellect and will as we journey through life.

The seven chiefly virtues correlate to each part of the horse and chariot. The intellect is perfected by the virtue of prudence—which enables one to know and direct what’s right. The will is perfected by the virtue of justice—which enables one to do and uphold what’s right. The passions are perfected by the virtues of fortitude—which enables one to endure difficulties and trials, and temperance—which enables one to moderate desires and temptations. And all—are perfected and elevated by the virtues of faith, hope, and charity.

In short, someone who makes wise decisions, always does what’s right and honorable, proves courageous, moderates pleasure, and believes in, yearns for, and loves as Christ—is a virtuous person.

Remembering, scripture says: “Human wisdom, brilliance, insight—they are of no help if the Lord is against you. You can get horses ready for battle, but it is the Lord who gives victory” (‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭21‬:‭30‬-‭31‬). Thus, the virtuous one understands they are not saved by works, but through faith—pursuing a virtuous life not to earn salvation, but to do God’s will.

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Related Scripture

“Human wisdom, brilliance, insight—they are of no help if the Lord is against you. You can get horses ready for battle, but it is the Lord who gives victory.” — Proverbs‬ ‭21‬:‭30‬-‭31‬ (GNTD)

“And the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety.” — Isaiah 11:2 (CPDV)

“Where is your reverence, your fortitude, your patience, and the perfection of your ways?” — Job 4:6 (CPDV)

“Your justice is justice for all eternity, and your law is truth.” — Psalm 118:142 (CPDV)

“And if anyone loves justice, her labors hold great virtues; for she teaches temperance and prudence, justice and virtue, and nothing is more useful in human life.” — Wisdom 8:7 (CPDV)

“For justice is perpetual and immortal…” — Wisdom 1:15 (CPDV)

“If you pursue justice, you will obtain it. And you will be clothed with justice, as with a long robe of honor. And you will live with justice. And justice will protect you continually. And on the day of reckoning, you will find a strong foundation.” — Sirach 27:9 (CPDV)

“God, he has girded me with fortitude, and he has made my way perfect…” — 2 Samuel 22:33 (CPDV)

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of virtue, and of love, and of self-restraint.” — 2 Timothy 1:7 (CPDV)

“...being just as strong as I was at that time, when I was sent to explore the land. The fortitude in me at that time continues even until today, as much to fight as to march.” — Joshua 14:11 (CPDV)

“Blessed is the man who finds wisdom and who advances to prudence.” — Proverbs 3:13 (CPDV)

“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge…” — 2 Peter 1:5 (ESV)

Related Quotes

“Someone can be passionate about food in a good way. However, if someone’s desire for food becomes irrational—that is—he begins to eat more than his body needs, bad things happen. Gluttony. Heartburn. Lack of sleep. Weight gain. Obesity. Most people who eat too much know eating so many calories is not healthy, yet their passions overrun their intellects whenever the dessert cart rolls up to the table. In order to resist that dessert cart, one has to begin patterns of behavior. The ethical theory of Thomas Aquinas is based on these patterns of behavior. Good patterns are called virtues. Bad patterns are called vice. Thomas Aquinas, then, proposes for us an ethics of virtue.” — Dr. Taylor Marshall

“Perfect wisdom has four parts: Wisdom, the principle of doing things aright. Justice, the principle of doing things equally in public and private. Fortitude, the principle of not fleeing danger, but meeting it. Temperance, the principle of subduing desires and living moderately.” — Plato

“If any man should conceive certain things as being really good, such as prudence, temperance, justice, fortitude, he would not after having first conceived these endure to listen to anything which should not be in harmony with what is really good.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Temperance is simply a disposition of the mind which binds the passion.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

“Faith does not quench desire, but inflames it.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

“We set forth our petitions before God, not in order to make known to Him our needs and desires, but rather so that we ourselves may realize that in these things it is necessary to turn to God for help.” — St. Thomas Aquinas

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Lesson Plan

For your family, small group, or personal reflection.

STEP 1: Introduction

Example: "I'm going to play a short video on the topic of how the seven chiefly virtues correlate to each part of the illustration of the horse and chariot. After the video, I have some questions to gather your thoughts and get the discussion started. We’ll then wrap up with a closing prayer."

STEP 2: Watch Video (or listen)

Watch (or listen to) the video of the teaching (cast to your TV via YouTube). If time allows, also read the teaching, related Scriptures, and related quotes.

STEP 3: Discussion / Reflection

  • What virtue perfects our intellect (represented as the charioteer) and how do you practice this virtue in your life?

  • What virtue perfects our will (represented as the reins) and how do you practice this virtue in your life?

  • What virtue perfects our passions in the face of difficulties and trials (represented as one of the horses) and how do you practice this virtue in your life?

  • What virtue perfects our passions in the face of desires and temptations (represented as the other one of the horses) and how do you practice this virtue in your life?

  • What virtues elevate and perfect our intellect, will, and passions (as well as every other virtue from a natural to supernatural level) and how do you practice these virtues in your life?

  • What virtues would you like to grow in the most and why?

  • What is the value in pursuing a virtuous life if not to earn salvation?

  • Did any of the related Scriptures or quotes stand out to you (please elaborate)?

  • Any other thoughts you’d like to share?

STEP 4: Wrap Up & Closing Prayer

Summarize and wrap up the discussion. Then, conclude with a sincere and humble prayer from the heart.

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