Visiting Teaching June 2015: Divine Attributes of Jesus Christ: Virtue
As soon as I saw the word “virtue”—I rolled my eyes. Thankfully, this isn’t about the idea of virtue as a sexual commodity. It is about the virtuous aspects and acts of Christ as a servant, healer and friend to us all. So whilst I normally like the General Authority quotes included, I did not find them as inspirational in this month’s message. But I did find inspiration in the From The Scriptures section which was fully focused on Christ and a woman with faith:
From the Scriptures
Today, virtuous women, full of faith, reach out to the Savior. In Luke 8 we read of a woman who had an issue of blood for 12 years that could not be healed. She sought healing when she “came behind [Christ], and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood [stopped]. … And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” This virtuous faithful woman fell down before Him, declaring “unto him before all the people” that “she had touched him” and “was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole”
Through His virtue, Christ can heal, enable, strengthen, comfort, and cheer when we choose with courage and faith to reach out to Him.
Now, to be honest, in the past, when I have read this, a part of me felt like the woman somewhat robbed Christ of virtue—she touched His robe without permission (Luke 8:44). But I thought about this some more—Christ did not become less because He shared His virtue—nor was He accusing her because she had touched Him. In thinking of this, and in consideration of Christ’s infinite love, I think He turned to share her joy in the miracle; not because He ever intended to accuse her. He turned to share in her joy of being healed- and don’t we all feel that way when we help someone feel well, whether it be trough prayer, a listening ear or chicken soup?
But how can we share virtue from ourselves without being depleted? In our over-booked society, it seems we are often spread too thin to share the greatness of virtue of pure religion (love). So then, I came across this quote, by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.
In this, I was inspired to know: I might not be able to heal anyone of anything, but I can do little things. And I can do them well. I can say ‘thank you,’ and mean it. I can say, ‘hello’ with warmth. I can return an extra shopping cart (trolley) from the middle of the car park when I am sans kids. And I can do other things, too.
A few years ago, when my husband and I were living in a small Australian town, we found that we would be alone together for Christmas. I didn’t mind, but we were remote enough that it was disappointing. Christmas falls in the Australian summer, so many families in town had left to visit family and cities with things to do, and it felt lonely. In the past, we had done a kind of 12 Days of Christmas tradition where we brought cookies and gifts to different people each day for the 12 days before Christmas. But here we were, in a remote and nearly desolated town where it was well over 100°F, and would take 2 hours driving to buy gifts. Humph!
So we decided to do good deeds and only a couple of cookie deliveries each day instead. At first, we thought there would be little to do. We did bring cookies to one couple, and dog sat for another. We brought homemade gifts to each family in the branch where we attended on the Sunday (I’d been working this for some time), and cleaned off the tables at the local café as they had allowed most of the staff time off for the holiday. Then we went and did a clean-up of a picnic area, collected rubbish then washed down picnic tables and BBQ areas. That’s when we noticed another community area that needed a clean-up. So we did that the next day, and the next, and the next. By the end of it, we had produced copious amounts of sweat and had cleaned areas that had enough random rubbish to fill our goal. It felt good.
And you know what? The part I liked the best was doing the rubbish clean up at the parks. *Because* no one saw (that I know of), and no one said thank you. We just did a little something that made the community a better place. And we felt the spirit as we were doing it, making it one of the most memorable Christmases of my life. In other words, we shared our virtue – and we gained because of it.
So that is my thought for this month’s message. Virtue is not a commodity that is traded or lost, or tangible in any way. It is a state of mind, that is not lessened when we share it—it is increased.
To practice five things under all circumstances constitutes perfect virtue; these five are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kindness. -Confucius
With this in mind, how can you share some of your virtue with your friends or family, and increase your own at the same time? Neighbourhood clean up? Offering forgiveness to someone who does not know they have offended you? How can you make your world and the place you live a better place by practicing virtue?