How Can I Practice Heroic Virtue?

Did you ever stop to think that practicing heroic virtue doesn’t necessarily mean that virtue has to be practiced in the midst of something big, difficult or life-changing?  Sometimes I think we might have a tendency to associate “heroic” with “big” and “great.”

Let me share a perspective from St. Faustina about heroic virtue…

“O you small, everyday sacrifices, you are to me like wildflowers which I strew over the feet of my beloved Jesus.  I sometimes compare these trifles to the heroic virtues and that is because their enduring nature demands heroism.”  [Diary of St. Faustina, paragraph #208]

So what are these “little wildflowers that we may strew at the feet of Jesus” to lead us to heroic virtue?  Not necessarily always something big (although there are most certainly opportunities to practice heroic virtue in these circumstances too), but small and, as St. Faustina uses, trifling things that happen day-in and day-out that are constant and repetitive.

I have a hunch we may experience many trifling things in our daily lives:

– That person who constantly tries to bring you down or insult you.

– The unending “inconveniences” and “interruptions”  and “messes” of parenthood and serving those little hands and feet.

– A person who seems to be having problems or giving difficulties.

– Unexpected sicknesses or perhaps a chronic medical condition.

– Car problems, house maintenance issues, having to go without modern conveniences for a time

– Traffic; a person tries to cut you off to squeeze in ahead of you.

– The annoying quirks of people you live or work with.

Basically, anything that inconveniences us, interrupts our routines or “state of normalcy,” or we find irksome or causes us suffering.

You get the point.  The practice of heroic virtue is something we can cultivate by gracefully and virtuously handling not just the big things of life, but even those small and trifling things that happen in our day-to-day.  In fact, these small, everyday things will help us to gracefully handle those bigger life-changing and difficult events we all will eventually encounter in life…

“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones, and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” [Luke 16:10]

If we strive to handle with grace all these little trifles, we no doubt will grow in grace and virtue and will be able to handle more virtuously those bigger things in life. Or perhaps, on the flip side, we find it easier to surrender to God in bigger things that are beyond our control but really struggle with the little things we feel like we “should” be able to control or handle.  Like St. Faustina said, these small things, because of their enduring nature, demand a particular heroism.

So remember that there is opportunity for great heroic virtue even as you go about those sometimes monotonous or “annoying” duties and encounters in your daily life!


Photo used with permission of Unsplash.

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