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Six Angelic Doors

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Father John Bosco, who has been assisting with Mass here at Our Lady of Peace Parish, has been appointed by Archbishop Perez as our part time Parochial Vicar. In his appointment letter the archbishop notes: “At your ordination to the Priesthood you were entrusted with the great privilege of leading the faithful in prayer, especially in the celebration of the Eucharist. As a Parochial Vicar, you are called to know and love the people whom you serve, to care for the poor and those in need, to teach the youth, to attend to the sick and dying with the compassion of Christ, and to assist in the pastoral administration of the parish.” Father Bosco will minister at our parish, but he will reside with his religious community, The Servants of Charity, in Ridley Park. We welcome Father and we will keep him close to our prayers.  

We have spent the last two weeks looking out the windows at OLP. So, it seems appropriate that we now walk through the doors.  

There are six Angelic doors at the main entrance at Notre Dame de Lourdes. The two center doors are dedicated to the Eucharist and the Sacred Scriptures – the two pillars upon which our liturgy rests. The doors to the right and to the left celebrate the four Cardinal Virtues. Above the doors is a lovely scene of the apparition of Our Lady to St. Bernadette. Included are the roses on the feet of Our Lady as well as roses cascading to the side. Our focus of this reflection would be the four doors celebrating the Cardinal Virtues of Prudence, Justice, Temperance, and Fortitude.  

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) defines virtues as “a habitual and firm disposition to do good, acquired by human effort and aided by God’s grace.” (CCC 1803) Virtues, as good habits, are the opposite of vices. There are two primary groupings of virtues. 

The Theological Virtues of faith, hope, and charity are infused into our souls by God and enable us to merit eternal life. Meanwhile, the Cardinal Virtues, also known as Human, or Moral Virtues, “are acquired by human effort, and they are the fruit and seed of morally good acts which dispose us for communion with divine love.” (CCC 1804) So the Theological Virtues give us the habits necessary to achieve eternal life while the Cardinal Virtues guide us along the pathway of achievement. The Cardinal Virtues are the pivots that keep this achievement possible.   

Temperance is a sense of moderation or self-restraint which offers stability and balance in our lives. Temperance “keeps our desires and instincts within the limits of what is honorable.” (CCC 1809) 

Fortitude is both a virtue and a Gift of the Holy Spirit. Fortitude provides courage but it also envelopes us in divine protection that nothing will ever disturb us. The words of Jesus, “Take courage, I have conquered the world,” (John 16:33) assure us that even though we still battle the victory has been won.  

Justice is tied to obedience, respect, and the common good. We respect principles, precepts, commandments, and laws, and we obey them for love of God and of neighbor. Scripture sings the praises of the just and the righteous. St. Joseph is described as “a righteous man,” (Matthew 1:19) while the just are celebrated in Psalms 1 and 112.  

Prudence, described by St. Thomas Aquinas as “right reason in action,” enables us to know and to comprehend truth and to make reasonable decisions based on truth. Prudence allows us to recognize challenging situations and enables us to steer through them cautiously and with confidence.  

St. Augustine describes our doors poetically: “To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts; from this it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted. No misfortune can disturb it. It obeys only God, and is careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by deceit or trickery.”

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