Contrary, Heavenly, and Cardinal Virtues

In this world of iniquity, they are a few gleams of hope in the mire of our shameful indulgences. Various formulations of Virtue have been proposed over the ages.

The Cardinal Virtues:
prudence, temperance, courage, justice

Classical Greek philosophers considered the foremost virtues to be prudence, temperance, courage, and justice. Early Christian Church theologians adopted these virtues and considered them to be equally important to all people, whether they were Christian or not.

The Theological Virtues:
love, hope, faith

St. Paul defined the three chief virtues as love, which was the essential nature of God, hope, and faith. Christian Church authorities called them the three theological virtues because they believed the virtues were not natural to man in his fallen state, but were conferred at Baptism.

The Seven Contrary Virtues:
humility, kindness, abstinence, chastity, patience, liberality, diligence

The Contrary Virtues were derived from the Psychomachia ("Battle for the Soul"), an epic poem written by Prudentius (c. 410). Practicing these virtues is alledged to protect one against temptation toward the Seven Deadly Sins: humility against pride, kindness against envy, abstinence against gluttony, chastity against lust, patience against anger, liberality against greed, and diligence against sloth.

The Seven Heavenly Virtues:
faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, prudence

The Heavenly Virtues combine the four Cardinal Virtues: prudence, temperance, fortitude -- or courage, and justice, with a variation of the theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity. I'm still researching the origins and popular usage of this formulation.

The Seven Corporal Works of Mercy

Continuing the numerological mysticism of Seven, the Christian Church assembled a list of seven good works that was included in medieval catechisms. They are: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give shelter to strangers, clothe the naked, visit the sick, minister to prisoners, and bury the dead.

 

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