The police use a vice squad to enforce laws concerning gambling, pornography, prostitution, and the illegal use of liquor and narcotics. Thankfully there is no such legal enforcement of vice in the broader sense of the word. The dictionary definition of vice is, “a moral fault or failing.” Ouch, guilty as charged Your Honor. The antonym of vice is virtue. Can we get some leniency by displaying a little virtue – like maybe a lifetime of double secret probation?
More to come on this but first I’m curious, what was your saintball score last week? No, I don’t expect you to tell me. Mine was 77, a lousy “C” again. 47/50 points on the valuable use of time measure, but only 30/50 on behavior. Of course I am playing the more advanced and slightly more objective version of the game, so that’s my excuse. Rather than very subjectively tracking good and bad behavior, I am tracking my conduct in terms of vice and virtue (the V’s).
I use the seven deadly sins to represent the vices since they are widely recognized. They each have a contrary virtue as well. I like to list them in a good versus evil style since they are all constantly doing battle within each of us.
I track these daily. You can too with the Flying V Tracker. Yeah there’s a story behind that name for another time. The worksheet contains brief definitions of each V. Score one point for each time you think, say or do something that was caused by one of the V’s. I usually start with noticing the good and bad behavior and then think about which V caused it.
When I first started tracking, my goal was simply to avoid the vices. A defensive strategy designed to keep the vice squad off my trail. While I had some victories, it became obvious that only through actively utilizing the virtues would I ever consistently win. That is, score more virtue than vice points daily. So I went on offense. It works. Focusing on virtue gives vice little time to rear its ugly head. But it is also very easy to slip back into vice behaviors which seem to be the much easier route to take.
So there you have it, your plan to evade the vice squad. Use the 7 virtues to defeat the 7 vices every time. To make this fun I envision a battle of angels and demons taking place within me every day. Yeah that may seem weird, but try it. Give them names if you want. Anything to keep yourself interested and engaged in fighting the good fight.
Try using the tracker for a week. You will be amazed by what you learn about yourself, both the good and the room for improvement. I’m rooting for your angels! A song line just popped into my head; “But I can hear a heavenly band full of angels and they’re coming to set me free.” Can you name the song and artist? I’ll tell you next time.
By the way, I’m on the lookout for saintly behavior and images. When I see it I’m going to use Instagram and Twitter to share with a hashtag of #besaintspirational. I encourage you to do the same with your own accounts. It would be nice to build a portfolio of saint inspiring photos and examples to help us all on our journey.
Be Saintspirational, Scott