Contents Virtutes Theologicae
The Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love

The origins of the Theological Virtues lie with Scripture. St. Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians, "So faith, hope, and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love." (1Cor. 13:13). There and throughout Scripture the themes of faith, hope, and love are constantly stressed and thus they have been singled out and given the name 'the Theological Virtues'. They are called theological virtues because the word 'theological' means 'belonging to or relating to God'. Our faith, hope and love must have God for their basis and motive, otherwise they are worthless.

In Scripture we see that faith is the beginning of human salvation for: ".. without faith it is impossible to please Him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek him." (Hebr. 11:6). From this faith in God, must then come hope, the confident hope that God will carry out His promises to us. Scripture tells us in Romans 8:24, "For in hope we were saved." and then again in Galatians 5:5, "For through the Spirit, by faith, we await the hope of righteousness." Lastly, from this hope built upon faith springs love, for "... hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us." (Rom. 5:5). It is from this love that Christ spoke about when he said, "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matt. 22:37-39).

Two popes in particular felt very strongly about these Theological Virtues. Pope Benedict XIII (1649-1730) on January 15, 1728 granted a plenary indulgence to the acts of faith, hope, and love. Twenty eight years later, on January 28, 1756, Pope Benedict XIV (1675-1758), who felt strongly that these Theological Virtues were ever so important, confirmed his predecessor's grant and extended the grant to include a partial indulgence whenever they were recited. He also extended the grant to any legitimate forms of the three theological virtues. This later grant continues to today in the Enchiridion Indulgentiarum. A partial indulgence is granted to any legitimate act of faith, hope, or love.

There are many versions of these Acts of Faith, Hope, and Love. The ones given below are the popular ones seen these days, such as those found in the Baltimore Catechism.

Actus Fidei
Act of Faith

By Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, Catechismus Catholicus, (1931)

DEUS meus, firmiter credo Te esse unum Deum in tribus distinctis Personis, Patre, Filio et Spiritu Sancto; et Filium propter nostram salutem incarnatum, passum et mortuum esse, resurrexisse a mortuis, et unicuique pro meritis retribuere aut praemium in Paradiso aut poenam in Inferno. Haec ceteraque omnia quae credit et docet catholica Ecclesia, credo quia Tu ea revelasti, qui nec ipse falli nec nos fallere potes. O MY GOD, I firmly believe that Thou art one God in three divine persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; I believe that Thy divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He shall 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.

A traditional Latin version with a literal English translation.

DOMINE Deus, firma fide credo et confiteor omnia et singula quae sancta ecclesia Catholica proponit, quia tu, Deus, ea omnia revelasti, qui es aeterna veritas et sapientia quae nec fallere nec falli potest. In hac fide vivere et mori statuo. Amen. O LORD God, I firmly believe each and every truth which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou, O God, Who art eternal truth and wisdom which can neither deceive nor be deceived, hast revealed them all. In this faith I stand to live and die. Amen.
Actus Spei
Act of Hope

By Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, Catechismus Catholicus, (1931)

DEUS meus, cum sis omnipotens, infinite misericors et fidelis, spero Te mihi daturum, ob merita Iesu Christi, vitam aeternam et gratias necessarias ad eam consequendam, quam Tu promisisti iis qui bona opera facient, quemadmodum, Te adiuvante, facere constituo. Amen. O MY GOD, relying on Thy almighty power and infinite mercy and promises, I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, the help of Thy grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

A traditional Latin version with a literal English translation.

DOMINE Deus, spero per gratiam tuam remissionem omnium peccatorum, et post hanc vitam aeternam felicitatem me esse consecuturum: quia tu promisisti, qui es infinite potens, fidelis, benignus, et misericors. In hac spe vivere et mori statuo. Amen. O LORD God, through Thy grace I hope to obtain remission of all my sins and after this life eternal happiness, for Thou hast promised, Who art all powerful, faithful, kind, and merciful. In this hope I stand to live and die. Amen.
Actus Caritatis
Act of Love

By Pietro Cardinal Gasparri, Catechismus Catholicus, (1931)

DEUS meus, ex toto corde amo Te super omnia, quia es infinite bonus et infinite amabilis; et ob amorem Tui proximum meum diligo sicut meipsum, eique, si quid in me offendit, ignosco. O MY GOD, I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all-good and worthy of all 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.

A traditional Latin version with a literal English translation.

DOMINE Deus, amo te super omnia et proximum meum propter te, quia tu es summum, infinitum, et perfectissimum bonum, omni dilectione dignum. In hac caritate vivere et mori statuo. Amen. O LORD God, I love Thee above all things, and I love my neighbor on account of Thee, because Thou art the highest, infinite and most perfect good, worthy of all love. In this love I stand to live and die. Amen.

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