Both virtues and vices grow, and ripen into character. Character is the moral disposition of a person. Virtue and vice therefore determine the character. We have seen the good and the evil tendencies inborn in every temperament. We realize the moral liberty of the human will. If the will, therefore, submits as a voluntary slave to the evil tendencies of temperament, it develops a vicious character. But, if it does violence to the evil inclinations of nature and habitually strives to act according to the dictates of reason enlightened by faith, it gradually develops a Christian character.
Five means are especially conducive to the formation of a Christian character: (1) to have the good will to avoid evil and to do good; (2) to reduce this determination to practice as circumstances require; (3) to trust in God and mistrust ourselves; (4) to be generous with God; (5) to pray earnestly for light and strength to mend natural and acquired defects.
An ideal Christian character results from the blending of the virtues of integrity, honesty, moral courage, moderation, and charity.
Integrity regulates man's actions in accordance with reason enlightened by faith. Honesty makes him faithful to truth and justice. The moral courage of a Christian must be guided in all circumstances by prudence, and strengthened by divine grace. Moderation enables man to act in due season; while charity, the jewel of a Christian character, is dead to selfish motives and ever seeks the neighbor's spiritual and temporal welfare.