Courage is the ability to rise above’s one’s weaknesses and circumstances for the sake of a higher good, a good for one’s self or for another. A courageous act is performed regardless of the external threats.
But an heroic virtue is the ability to rise even higher for the sake of an even higher good – to do something for the sake of God. Because of the love of God within the heart of the individual, external circumstances, threats, and even being faced with death shows no discouragement in enacting that higher good.
Saints are raised to the level of sanctity, not because they are perfect. Far from it!
They are raised to that level because they constantly are striving to better themselves in order to please God. They are far from perfect. But their attempts of cooperating with God’s Will and Grace gives them the heroic virtue of sanctity.
This is what the entire life of a Christian is all about. One who follows Christ and His ways must strive to accept all that comes his way as coming from the hand of God.
Perfect acceptance for what comes our way is a form of heroic virtue. Surrendering everything that comes our way is a form of heroic virtue.
The rewards are immeasurable and immense.
A few years ago, we lost one of our beloved dogs. He was old, half blind, couldn’t hear, and his sniffer was gone. Being a long-haired chihuahua wasn’t adding anything to his favor for survival in 300 acres of densely wooded environment.
I came home from work, searched the woods, got lost for three hours, tore my favorite work pants, and was in tears.
Darkness fell. Rain and freezing temperatures fell. Every day I went out in search for the animal. And every day I had to just keep praying that we would find him.
It was not an easy task to leave it all to God. I wasn’t at that stage of acceptance yet. But I tried.
In three days, we found him trotting across a country road, happy as you please, heading toward some unknown destination. I stopped the car on the hill, hoping another car didn’t roar over the top as I sent to get the little dog.
God was with me. The dog rescued. His good eye sliced open from barbed wire fencing, and had to be removed. But he was home and safe.
That was the start of learning how to let go and let God handle everything. I didn’t have any means or capability to find the animal, but being a good steward, knew that giving it to God and trying was his only hope.
Second time around…
Recently we had another old dog in equal incapacity wander away from the house. No one realized it until hours later. By then, the animal disappeared.
Freezing weather hit that night, 22 degrees plus wind chill. Being old, broken, and with a heart condition, we had to leave her discovery totally to God. There were no cross roads, no ability to find even a trace of her in the thousands of acres of woods behind our new home.
The next day after church, a strange truck pulled into our driveway. A neighbor who happens to rescue dogs had found her wandering about ¾ of a mile from the house. Somehow, with the help of a few great Saints (Francis of Assisi and Martin de Porres), he was kept alive in during the cold night. And God sent us the dog rescuers to our aid.
Moreover, we were able to meet another wonderful neighbor during the process. Someone we would never had met if it hadn’t been for this small crisis.
From evil came a greater good. And from surrendering the circumstance and loss to God, He rewarded us in ways we could never have imagined.
This time, we were all a bit more ready to let go and let God handle this.
Heroic virtue is just that. Simply and in a nutshell:
Let go and Let God.
“Jesus, I surrender myself to You. You take care of everything.” (Surrender Novena)
Ask and He will. He never fails. Even if the circumstance or end doesn’t seem that promising. It will always be for our good.