How can the virtues you nurture conquer fear and build resilience?
On a recent episode of "The Catholic Gentleman," hosts John Heinen and Sam Guzman are joined by Dr. Andrew Swafford, a theology professor at Benedictine College.
During their captivating discussion, they explore the profound role of Christian virtues and their intricate relationship between faith and grace.
Swafford, drawing on his experiences as an educator, sheds light on the potent fears he notices among his male students. These young men often grapple with anxiety about becoming good husbands, fathers and leaders as they navigate adulthood.
"Many good men from good Catholic families have a fear that they won't know how to be a good husband and father because they didn't see it growing up," he says.
He explains that addressing these fears calls for nurturing specific Christian virtues: hope, charity, and patience.
In Christian philosophy, virtue isn't merely a self-serving endeavor, but rather an outward expression of love for others.
As Guzman eloquently puts it, "Virtue is for others. It's about self-possession as a means to self-gift rather than self-aggrandizement."
Virtue not only grows character but lets us serve others selflessly.
Discovering Christian Grit
Swafford also examines the concept of "grit" from a Christian lens. Here, "grit" transcends the secular definition of resilience to include consistency and faithfulness.
This entails viewing challenges through the lens of faith and presenting them back to God. The professor then poses a critical question: "Can I rise above my spontaneous emotional reaction in the moment and choose the good, or will I just be a pinball?"
It's clear that the cultivation of virtue can help us become resilient, loving and joyous people.
To echo Swafford's words, "Being fully alive is about not just doing the right things on the outside, but having a deep-seated joy and peace, the fruits of the spirit."
Check out the episode below: