Courage is not controversial. Rare is the person who wishes to be a coward, but cowardice is all around us.
A courageous man does what is right when it is difficult, but there is little money to be made on the right thing. The libertine needs products, support, and help to maintain his lifestyle, because it is unnatural. As a result, a materialistic culture markets to our desires and not to our best selves.
Nobody dares call it cowardice, but most commercials urge eating, drinking, spending, any self-indulgence rather than the horror of moderation. The obesity, drunkenness, debt, and boredom that result require more products to mitigate the natural results of our unnatural cravings.
We want more; fat, salt, sex, fun, vacation, and stuff, than we need or can use.
Courage is moving forward under fire, but sometimes the pain comes from wounds inflicted by proper choosing. Ignorant men assume the right choices always lead to pleasure, but the wise have always known in this broken world sometimes right resolves itself in a permanent limp, a dreadful sacrifice, or even temporal defeat.
The right wins, but not always the righteous. Lincoln died at the moment of triumph, ignorant men killed wise Socrates, and Jesus was nailed to a cross for being the truth.
Courage has little regard for self if justice is served. Personal ease, affluence, or triumphs are small compared to the good of the Church, the family, the nation, or humanity. The courageous man is no more morally reckless, than the brave soldier desires to die.
The courageous man is not rash, but he acts decisively.
Sometimes we pretend the worst thing is a lifetime of saying “no” to desire, but a worse thing is to betray goodness, truth, and beauty for self. Christianity has no respect for the moral cowardice of Rand and those like her who place selfish desires over the common good.
We love Jesus, the incarnate Good, and others more than self.
Christians go rejoicing to martyrdom, because death is better than dishonor. When told the unborn, the poor, or the sick are “losers,’ Christian associate with the losers. The brave Christian does not court unpopularity, but he does not fear it.
Christians know that intellectual and moral fashions come and go, but the Church endures. God goes on hating injustice to the poor, divorce, and dishonor, but the powerful of any age find clever ways to mask their moral cowardice in fine words.
They live for self and pay for applause.
I am often discouraged by the hard demands of morality. God’s law tells me to ignore deep desire and do right by my wife, children, neighbor, and even my enemies. There is no end to the suffering that a call to be straight in a crooked world brings.
Pain is constant, but this is not the useless pain of sin. This kind of pain shapes me as a fire tempers steel. Dross burns away and I am made fitter for service. Pain makes a coward of me often and I retreat from the fire afraid of being burned, but so much of me must be burned away.
I must not commend courage, but be courageous. If I believe this can be done without pain, then I hope for fecundity without giving, prosperity without moderation, or fitness without discipline.
Courage is love incarnate: willing to bleed for the Beloved.