The Trinity of Theological Virtues

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Last night I was reading the passage that follows, Wednesday's gospel reading

Matthew 15:21-28 (RSV)

[21]And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon.
[22] And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and cried, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely possessed by a demon."
[23] But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying after us."
[24] He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
[25] But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me."
[26] And he answered, "It is not fair to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
[27] She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table."
[28] Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly.

As I read, a not terribly astounding revelation took root. Here we have revealed the association of the trinity of theological virtues. A woman comes to Jesus out of great love for her daughter. She pleads with Him for the life of her daughter. I had always been a bit puzzled by the coolness of His reaction? Was He looking for abasement, for subordination? What is this insult of basically calling the woman a dog?

Charity finds a way through hope. She hears the Lord's words, and still knowing that He can do something for her daughter, hope lights a candle and she is inspired to say "Even dogs get the table scraps."

Jesus in turn recognizes this combination of hope and love as faith. He does not applaud her persistence in hope or her initial approach in Charity, but rather the depth of her faith that puts up with "persecution" and endures to the end she wishes to see.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. " (1 Cor. 13:13). The trinity of theological virtues, in this life, support and maintain one another. Where one exists the other two are likely there, one need only seek them out.

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A nice reflection.

And where one theological virtue exists, I've been convinced, the other two are certainly there. It makes for a handy bootstrapping technique: when you find your faith insufficient, say, you might also notice your hope is stronger, in which case your hope can increase your faith.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 3, 2004 7:06 AM.

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