Vices vs. Virtues…
Galatians 5 gives us a list of vices vs. virtues:
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. –Galatians 5:19-23, NAB
St. Paul gives us a clearly-defined list of vices and virtues, works of the flesh and fruit of the Spirit. While the list may seem pretty straightforward, living by it may not be.
Obviously, sorcery may not be on your list of everyday sins to overcome, but I would guess that jealousy, outbursts of fury, selfishness, and envy may be. They are on my list, and they can be difficult to overcome. Even the greatest of saints struggled with these sins.
On the flip side, most of wish that we had more patience, were more at peace, and had a little extra self-control. Personally, with more self-control, I could keep my waist line a little smaller. The good Lord knows that we could all use an extra dash of faithfulness, from time to time, as well.
This is where our struggles come in. Knowing the difference of vices vs. virtues is one thing; living them is another. It takes effort – a lot of it. We will not live a virtuous life without really trying.
We may be some of these virtues by nature. By nature, I am relatively patient. By nature, I have a good amount of self-control. At the same time, by nature, I am a sinner, and anger, envy, and selfishness can become a plague in each of our lives.
Work hard to live a virtuous life. The saints did not become saints because they were born that way. They became saints because of their ability to overcome their vices. Hold fast to your faith. Hold fast to these virtues. And one day, you may become a saint yourself.