The Fortitudinous Man Completes the Work Proper to Him

finish the job given to you

Decades ago, young school age boys had the opportunity to carry a newspaper route in the neighborhoods, on foot, in many areas twice a day and once on Sunday – and be responsible for collecting money from customers once every week and paying for the cost of the papers out of the proceeds, keeping what was left for himself.  It wasn’t done until it was done, and there were whole blocks of neighbors that could attest to your work’s completion. This wonderful opportunity and experience has faded into history being replaced by delivery-by-car and vending machines.

If you were lucky, you had the opportunity to work on a farm in the summer – another great experience. 

Modern day opportunities for a high schooler have migrated to fast food stores and big box stores and the like, but still a good opportunity to learn responsibility and self-reliance. 

What these young experiences teach us is that there is a time when considerations like comfort and ease fade away, and we learn to grasp that essential skill of good work: completion.  And, by being given a work to do in these young jobs, we learn to receive our work from another and not spend our time solely on passing whims.  We learn, in short, to do the work proper to us, congruent to our state in life.

That experience – known by many but perhaps forgotten by too many – is what cultivates within us the virtue of fortitude.  Fortitude is sticking with it.  If you have chores, that’s proper to you and you need to stick with it until done.  If your job is an article, foundation, painted wall, policy change, or anything else, the job is most praiseworthy when it is done, and only then has fortitude manifested itself. 

In Fraternus you are presented in the book with the quote, “Only work that is well done and lovingly completed deserves the praise of the Lord….” The fortitudinous man completes the work proper to him. r

From accounts given of Brother Lawrence, quoted in The Practice of the Presence of God:

We need only to recognize God intimately present with us and address ourselves to Him every moment. We need to beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have completed them.

Catechism 759: “The eternal Father, in accordance with the utterly gratuitous and mysterious design of his wisdom and goodness, created the whole universe and chose to raise up men to share in his own divine life,” to which he calls all men in his Son. “The Father . . . determined to call together in a holy Church those who should believe in Christ.” This “family of God” is gradually formed and takes shape during the stages of human history, in keeping with the Father’s plan. In fact, “already present in figure at the beginning of the world, this Church was prepared in marvelous fashion in the history of the people of Israel and the old Alliance. Established in this last age of the world and made manifest in the outpouring of the Spirit, it will be brought to glorious completion at the end of time.”

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