The virtue of fortitude

O God, strength of those who hope in you, graciously hear our pleas, and, your grace, that in following your commands we may please you by our resolve and deeds.
(Collect 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time).

The cult of the early martyrs - particularly that of the virgin martyrs (many of whom are listed in the second half of the first Eucharistic prayer) does not get a great deal of attention in our contemporary western Church, and yet the interest in their lives (and deaths) was tremendous at other times. That was because their witness epitomises the reality of fortitude or courage, one of the cardinal virtues of Catholic teaching.
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