“We can speak of conversion not only as avoiding sins, mortal and venial, but also positively, as changes, improvements from evil to good: from lying to honesty . . . vanity to humility . . . gluttony to temperance . . . foolishness to prudence . . . timidity to courage . . . rage to patience . . . laziness to zeal . . . lust to love . . . cheating to justice . . . pettiness (small mindedness) to magnanimity (large mindedness) . . . egoism to altruism . . . mediocrity to totality . . . personal ugliness to personal beauty. Heroism in holiness occurs, wrote Benedict XIV, when these and the other virtues attain that peak of perfection by which a person vastly surpasses the goodness of ordinarily faithful people who aspire to holiness but at a slower pace and with less effort.
Heroic virtues are also interconnected. A person does not simply have one or a few virtues to a splendid degree. All the perfect virtues are found together. If an individual grows only in one or a few virtues, but lacks others, he is either a beginner or is becoming lax...
...As I have pointed out elsewhere, ‘heroically holy people unite in themselves virtues that seem to many people to exclude one another: magnanimity (aspiring to do great things for God and our neighbor) and humility, warm love and chastity, contemplation and action. Chinese intellectual John Wu was struck especially with this trait in Saint Therese of Lisieux, and he was moved to enter the Catholic Church because he saw that these highly desirable qualities cannot result from mere human ingenuity and strength. Wu concluded that the Church that could produce a Therese has to be his home of the divine on earth, for he found in this young woman ‘a living synthesis of such opposite extremes as humility and boldness, freedom and discipline, joy and suffering, duty and love, strength and tenderness, grace and nature, wisdom and folly, wealth and poverty, community and individualism.’’
Since each of the divine commandments spells out what is good for the individual and for all of us in our various states in life, a person who carries them out is bound to be a beautiful human being. And since each precept also indicates what love requires in a given set of circumstances, the individual with heroic virtues is doing exactly what Scripture indicates: ‘living a life of love’ (2 Jn 6).”