Faith, hope, and charity, the three theological virtues, are infused in the soul by God when we are baptized.
What is a virtue? For the answer, let’s look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “‘Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.’ (Phil. 4:8).
“A virtue is an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person not only to perform good acts, but to give the best of himself. The virtuous person tends toward the good with all his sensory and spiritual powers; he pursues the good and chooses it in concrete actions” (paragraph 1803).
“The human virtues are rooted in the theological virtues, which adapt man’s faculties for participation in the divine nature (cf. 2 Pet. 1:4): for the theological virtues relate directly to God. They dispose Christians to live in a relationship with the Holy Trinity. They have the One and Triune God for their origin, motive, and object.
“The theological virtues are the foundation of Christian moral activity; they animate it and give it its special character. They inform and give life to all the moral virtues. They are infused by God into the souls of the faithful to make them capable of acting as his children and of meriting eternal life. They are the pledge of the presence and action of the Holy Spirit in the faculties of the human being. There are three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity (cf. 1 Cor. 13:13)” (Ibid., paragraphs 1812 & 1813).
“Faith is the virtue by which we firmly believe all the truths God has revealed, on the word of God revealing them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived (John 20:29)” (Baltimore Catechism).
“Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe” (St. Augustine).
“I believe though I do not comprehend, and I hold by faith what I cannot grasp with the mind” (St. Bernard).
“Hope is the virtue by which we firmly trust that God, who is all-powerful and faithful to His promises, will in His mercy give us eternal happiness and the means to obtain it (Romans 8:24-25)” (Baltimore Catechism).
“Faith has to do with things that are not seen, and hope with things that are not in hand” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
“Charity is the virtue by which we love God above all things for His own sake, and our neighbor as ourselves for the love of God (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)” (Baltimore Catechism).
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy” (prayer usually attributed to St. Francis, but not actually written by him).
“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you!” (St. Augustine).
“Love God, serve God; everything is in that” (St. Clare of Assisi).
“Charity is the form, mover, mother, and root of all virtues” (St. Thomas Aquinas).
With these acts of faith, hope, and love (charity), express your faith and hope in God, and your love for God and for your neighbor.
Acts of Faith, Hope, and Charity
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three Divine Persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived. Amen.
Act of Hope
O my God, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.
Act of Charity (Love)
O my God, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me, and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.