How does a life of virtue lead to happiness?
On a recent episode of “The Catholic Gentleman” with hosts John Heinen and Sam Guzman, Benedictine monk Father Robert Nixon shares rediscovered lost teachings from Saint Albert the Great about virtues necessary to live a good life.
1. Love: The Pinnacle of Virtues
“The love of God is actually the exact same thing as the desire, the aspiration to goodness,” says Father Nixon.
According to Saint Albert, love, especially the love of God, is foundational. It is the virtue from which all others stem, embodying our love for the Divine and our neighbors.
“We love everyone as we love ourselves, we desire their salvation, we also desire their happiness,” Father Nixon adds.
2. Humility: The Gateway to Growth
Humility, as Father Nixon points out, is “seeing oneself through the eyes of truth and through the eyes of God.”
It is a virtue that stands starkly opposite to pride, which often is a barrier to growing in our faith.
“Humility implies an openness, an openness to improve, to correct ourselves and nothing closes the door on personal self-improvement on growth in the virtues like pride,” he says.
3. Liberty: True Freedom in the Light of God
Perhaps one of the most profound teachings of Saint Albert the Great is his understanding of liberty.
It is not just the freedom to choose, but it is a deeper, spiritual freedom that arises from detachment from vices and worldly desires.
“For him, liberty is a freedom of self-determination which comes from a freedom from vices, from the control of the flesh,” Father Nixon shares.
Living out these virtues is a conscious choice to align our own will with the Divine.
From the medieval Catholic perspective, Father Nixon says these virtues and others, such as holy sadness or spiritual joy, were seen as integral parts of holiness.
These virtues will undoubtedly steer you closer to God and His Church!
Check out the episode below: