I love the word “fortitude”! It brings to mind buff warriors and bull fighters. But the reality is, big muscles and risk-taking are not required to have fortitude. Fortitude comes from within.
I always think of the Spanish word “fuerte” when I think of fortitude. “Fuerte” means strong and since both words derive from the same Latin root, “fort”, it makes sense to lump them together. However, there is a difference. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), fortitude is “the moral virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good” (CCC 1808).
So, in reality, fortitude has nothing to do with physical strength. Instead it’s about having spiritual and moral strength and consistency even in the face of adversity. It’s about standing your ground when problems arise, and they always do.
But, how does fortitude apply to our stewardship of creation? Change is hard. A lot of what we try to do to help the environment is about changing attitudes and lifestyles. Recycling more, using reusable items instead of disposable ones, walking, biking or carpooling take effort to start and effort to continue. Sometimes, we just want to give up and go back to what seems like the “easy way”. Fortitude is what keeps us from bailing out on our endeavors. It’s a sense of commitment to striving for the good.
I have to admit that there are times (probably more than I care to admit) where I lack fortitude in my life. In my case, it’s usually due to a strange mix of busyness and laziness. Sometimes, I’m too busy (in my mind) to follow through with what I know to be right while other times, I’m just too lazy.
My prayer this week will be for fortitude in all aspects of my life: daughter, sister, wife, mother and friend. I’ll pray for you, if you’ll pray for me!
Stay strong! ( Or should I say, fuerte?)
Next week: Temperance: Enough is Enough!