Issue nº 179

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The first cardinal virtue: Faith

The first cardinal virtue: Faith

First we spoke in this space of the seven capital sins. The series enjoyed a wide repercussion among readers, which made me very happy. But what about the seven cardinal virtues?

The sins come before the virtues. As a wise man said, he who has not sinned has no merit in his virtue – because he has not overcome any temptation. Most holy men of any religion generally lead a dissolute or apathetic life before they dedicate themselves to the spiritual quest.

So, since the series on sins has come to an end, and following the logic of the path of Light, we shall dedicate the next columns to the seven cardinal virtues, beginning with Faith. They are derived from the sum of three theological virtues, plus another four based on Plato which were adapted by Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas (there are many divergences regarding the four complementary virtues, so I have decided to choose the more conventional list).

According to the dictionary: from the Latin word fide: confidence; religious belief; conviction with regard to someone or something; firmness in fulfilling a commitment; credit; intention; theological virtue.

According to Jesus Christ: The apostles said to the Lord, “Give us more faith.” And the Lord said: “If your faith is as big as a mustard seed, you could have said to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and planted in the sea,’ and it would have obeyed you!” (Luke, 17: 5-6)

According to Buddhism: "We are what we think. Through thought we build and destroy the world.

“We are what we think. Your imagination can do more harm than your worst enemy.

“But once you control your thoughts, no-one can help you so much, not even your father or your mother." (Extract from Dhammapada, a collection of some of Buddha’s principal teachings)

For Islam: "How do we purify the world?" asked a disciple.

Ibn al-Husayn replied: "There was a sheik in Damascus called Abu Musa al-Qumasi. Everyone honored him for his wisdom, but no-one knew if he was a good man. One afternoon a flaw in construction caused the house where the sheik lived with his wife to fall down. In despair, the neighbors began to dig among the ruins. After a while they managed to locate the wife.

"She said: ‘Leave me. First save my husband, who was sitting more or less over there.’ The neighbors removed the debris from the place she had pointed to and found the sheik, who said: ‘Leave me. First save my wife, who was lying down more or less over there.’

"When someone acts like this couple, they are purifying the whole world through their faith in life and love."

The faith of denying reality: “One year ago I gave a speech in an aircraft-carrier saying that we had succeeded in reaching an important objective, accomplishing a mission, which was to remove Saddam Hussein from power. As a result, there are no more torture chambers, no more mass graves.” (George W. Bush, 30 April 2004. In the same month, the world was to see the photos of torturing in the Abu Graib prison, and the collective executions of the civil war between Shiites and Sunites continue up to the moment I write this column).

According to Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlava: A disciple sought out the rabbi and said: "I can’t manage to talk to God." "That often happens," replied Nachman. "We feel that our mouth is sealed, or that the words just don’t come out. However, the mere fact of making an effort to overcome this situation is in itself a beneficial attitude.”

"But it isn’t enough."

“You’re right. At such times, what you should do is look up at the sky and say: ‘Lord Almighty, I am so far from You that I can’t even believe my own voice.’ Because the truth is that the Lord always hears and answers. It is we who do not manage to talk, for fear that He will pay no attention to us."

(next Warrior of Light Online Hope)

Issue nº 179
Agenda: if you want to know where Paulo Coelho will be this month, please click here