This week, we have seen the kindness of Saint Michael’s parishioner in Sunset Park, Sean Conaboy, recognized by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio.
In recognition of his heroism, Conaboy was awarded a medal commemorating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Diocese of Brooklyn. What exactly did Conaboy do? He acted as a good Samaritan!
While waiting for a train at the Union Square subway station, Conaboy witnessed a man stabbing Kelli Daley, and, without thought of his own safety, jumped into action, tackling the assailant and rescuing Miss Daley.
Conaboy could have easily looked the other way, but when he saw another person being senselessly attacked, he did the right thing. He acted with virtue.
Recall what a virtue is: According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church #1803, a virtue is “an habitual and firm disposition to do the good. It allows the person to not only 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.”
Our good Samaritan, the man who did not hide, who did not look the other way, acted in accord with the cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude.
These cardinal virtues, so-called because they are the hinge (cardo means hinge in Latin), are what we hang our basic life as human beings upon.
They are the good habits of the mind, intellect, and heart through which we grow and are, ultimately, able to practice the good. Every human being has these human virtues and every person is required to grow in these virtues so as to live a moral life.
Yes, the story of Conaboy and Daley reminds us that each and every one of us has the responsibility to care for each other.
Do we realize that each one of us should look out for each other, for no other reason than that it is the right thing to do?
All too often, we look the other way to the need in front of us, but we, as Christians, are called to do the right thing.
Perhaps we cannot perform a phys- ically heroic act like Conaboy, but we can do the right thing by living out the corporal works of mercy. What are those corporal works of mercy?
- To feed the hungry
- To give water to the thirsty
- To clothe the naked
- To shelter the homeless
- To visit the sick
- To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive
- To bury the dead
And in 2016, Pope Francis has added a new work of mercy, one which is both corporal and spiritual: “Care for our common home.”
Each day, let’s try to activate those cardinal virtues and thus to live out, as best as we can in our vocations, the corporal works of mercy.
In doing so, the spiritual works of mercy will grow and the theological virtues will take root in our lives.