One of the 4 cardinal virtues mentioned by St. Ambrose in his commentary on the gospel of Luke is that of fortitude. Fortitude? What is that? It is certainly not in our everyday vocabulary.
Even before Ambrose, Plato, Cicero and Marcus Aurelius, all recognized fortitude as a virtue. But what is it?
The word is derived from the Latin fortitudo, and can mean endurance, strength, forbearance, or the ability to be in control in times of uncertainty, fear or intimidation. Some translate it loosely, as courage but I want to underscore here, the “ability to remain under control”. It is not to control, but to be under control.
Anxiety to control circumstances and the energy we exert in the vain exercise, are the source of much of the frustrations we find in life and in society. It makes it so much more expedient that we constantly remind ourselves and learn to practice this virtue of fortitude.
Peace and joy are incompatible with a mindset of controlling – and this is not to be confused with being under control. The latter involves surrender. So, to truly experience peace and joy, begin each day asking yourself, “what area of my being, my make-up, do I need to surrender today?”