"Now abideth faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:13).
Virtue, by definition, is moral strength and beauty. It is not a passive quality admired by onlookers like a work of art in a museum. Rather, it is a dynamic grace displayed in a thousand noble acts on the highways and byways of daily life. Even the most ordinary among us can be extraordinarily virtuous.
Of all the great virtues that can be listed, and there are indeed many -- the three greatest are Faith, Hope, and Love. It is to these three things that all mankind aspires, for Life is at its best and brightest when these three combine together and lift us above and beyond the lures and limits of lesser things.
Without Faith, our lives began to diminish with the increase of gnawing doubts and mounting suspicions. We lose the innocence and sense of wonder that makes dreams come true. One must believe in order to be living. "My heart has no desire to stay where doubts arise and fears dismay; while some may dwell where these abound, my prayer, my aim is higher ground!"
Without Hope, our lives are ravaged, and life itself becomes a foreboding haze of disappointments and disillusionments, penetrating our souls like a foul vapor of toxic poisoning -- making us sick, lethargic, indifferent, and cynical.
And without Love, life is reduced to solitary confinement in a prison called Fear; where isolation robs us of vitality and vigor; and where bitterness wrecks havoc with all of our relationships.
Pity the man or woman whose heart is closed to Faith, Hope and Love. Now abideth faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love -- and I'll tell you why. Faith is a power, and Hope is a promise. But Love is a Person. I'll pick up here tomorrow and explain this in more detail.