By: St. Albert the Great
“For I am certain that if anyone reaches perfection in just a single one of these virtues, they shall achieve perfection in them all. And whoever increases in one virtue, will simultaneously grow in every other virtue, too.” —Saint Albert the Great
What is virtue? It is not a question often asked anymore; yet throughout the centuries, philosophers have considered it one of the most important questions of human life. Coming from the Latin word for “strength,” virtue denotes a steady habit of willing the good—in Christian terms, pursuing the love of God and neighbor—in some particular way. While most Catholics know the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, as well as prudence, temperance, courage, and justice, many of us are unaware of numerous other virtues, such as discretion, constancy, and holy silence.
Saint Albert the Great, one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, and one of the greatest intellects of all time, recognized 42 distinct virtues. His teachings not only name and define the virtues, but also direct and guide us in their fruitful exercise. Few are as qualified to teach on this subject as Albert, the Universal Doctor, best known as the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas himself. Only a man of true virtue could teach the truth of the virtues.
Brimming with heavenly insights, The Paradise of the Soul teaches what it means to attain beatitude—that is, the fulfillment of all virtue. But as Saint Albert knew, since the fullness of virtues is contained in love, and because God is love, ultimately, we can only achieve true plenitude of virtue by possessing God Himself. This is the true paradise of the soul. Let Saint Albert the Great, Doctor of the Angelic Doctor, instruct you on the path to sanctity among angels.