Byte-Sized Virtue: Season 4, Episode 3 – You Are Not What You Have Done
Spurred on by this touching, very reflective article, this episode is my attempt to connect the episodes of the past two weeks with the Virtue of Honor, which I think I’ve settled upon as the topic for this series of Byte-Sized Virtue episodes. In particular, this bit of the article is worth highlighting:
…we are not the worst thing we have done. We are immortal souls, yearning for a transcendence we cannot quite grasp. We are, every single one of us, made in the Image and Likeness of God.
That is the source of our value. That is why every human person deserves respect, possesses essential human rights. It is why every single person is, as Jewish custom tells us, the world entire.
There is no one, not one, who has not done harm to other people.
You have hurt people. You have wounded them and damaged them. You, even you, are unfit for heaven.
But you are not the worst thing that you have done.
Honor, as defined within Ultima lore, is “the courage to stand for the truth, against any odds. It is the courage to stand for truth regardless of the circumstances.” And one thing which is particularly demonstrative of pursuing truth with courage is to admit one’s wrongdoings, to seek to offer reparation for faults committed against others.
Because it’s very true that we aren’t the worst things we’ve done. Which isn’t to say that we can’t be defined by the things we do…but it is to say that we have some choice, some say in the matter. In some respects, it’s good to be defined by things we’ve done, if they are good things (you’re listening to a podcaster talk his way through another podcast episode, right?). The hurtful things we do can define us if we allow them to become habitual and repeatable, or if we’re genuinely not remorseful for the hurt we’ve caused. But if we have “wounded or damaged” others, and yet can summon the courage to truthfully admit our fault and seek to make amends…we can (and do) become something different than what we’ve done.
The season of Lent — the (roughly) forty days of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving that precede Easter— began on Ash Wednesday (which, this year, fell on March 1st). It will continue until Holy Thursday (April 13th), and will thereafter be followed by the Triduum (comprising Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil). The Easter season then runs for another (roughly) fifty days, ending on Pentecost (June 4th).