Kathy Kelly is a peace activist and an author whose work has brought hope among many people who have continually suffered injustices in their own nations. In many of her books, Kathy tells of stories of how she has worked tirelessly to bring hope and justice to many people and because of her activism, Kathy has been imprisoned several times but it does not deter her efforts to bring change in the society. Kathy has travelled to war torn Iraq, Afghanistan and Gaza together with other peace keepers in their attempt to give hope to the locals who have despaired. Kathy Kellys view of a happy life is one that is similar to the view of a virtuous life in the Christian tradition (Kelly 2).
Definition of a Happy and Virtuous Life
Happiness is often a combination of my factors that act together in combination to enhance an individuals happiness. According to the Christian faith, a happy life is one that embraces the virtues stated out in the Holy Bible. A level of self-satisfaction is often depicted in the efforts to offer help to others which makes a person satisfied. Virtues are always viewed as an instrumental means to a persons happiness. Virtue is often practical as it minimizes the risks that are present in life and it maximizes the probability of success and happiness. A good life should enable people to concentrate on the things that give them satisfaction as well as incorporating some elements of leisure. In order to achieve personal happiness individuals should focus on contributing to the common good in the attempt to achieve personal happiness (Mattison 60).
Happy and Virtuous Life in the Christian Tradition
Christianity preaches different virtues, which foster the different virtues like love, faith and hope. In the book of Corinthians for example, the entire chapter talks about love and the holy book talks about charity which is a sign of kindness extended to our neighbors. The Holy Bible stresses on the Ten Commandments which help to direct the human life. Love is the greatest of all where God is asking man to love hid neighbor as he (the man) loves himself. If people follow these commandments then the world would be a better place where injustices and oppression would be non-existent.
The Virtues and How Kathy Kelly Embodies them
Prudence is the virtue that places concrete reason to distinguish our factual good in every situation and to select the precise means of achieving it. Prudence directs the decree of our conscience. More often than not, a prudent man decides on action basing it on his judgment. Kathy was prudent as is depicted in all her actions since her move to go to Iraq during the war is an illustration of her courage and ability to apply her moral principles to overcome doubts about all the good things to achieve and the evils that needed to be eliminated by all costs.
Justice is the moral virtue that consists in the relentless and steady will to offer their due to God and ones neighbor. Justice of humans towards God is referred to as the virtue of religion and the justice towards fellow human being is in the attempt to respect human relationships and the rights of others. A just individual will always be upright in their conduct and be considerate in making decisions that relate to their neighbors. Kathy has always lived a just life by being considerate to the people in war torn countries who had suffered. Her imprisonment did not hinder her efforts of bringing change but rather a motivation to continue fighting for peoples freedom especially in Iraq.
Temperance is the moral virtue that controls the lure of desires and offers equilibrium in the use of produced goods. Temperance often keeps our desires at minimum and allows individuals to direct their appetites towards good deeds. Upon Kathys arrival in Iraq she was devastated by the state of wellbeing of the citizens where she realized that non-violence can dramatically transform the world which could be achieved by ensuring that the poor people in society becomes the first priority. Kathy was convinced that peace could only be achieved if people started loving their enemies and their actions should precede conviction irrespective of inconvenience.
Fortitude is the moral virtue that safeguards determination in difficulties and devotion in the pursuit of the good. It reinforces the resolution to resist temptations and to overcome impediments in the moral life. This virtue enables one to overcome fear, and to confidently face trials and oppressions. It sets one even to abandon and sacrifice their life in defense of a good cause. Kathy was a strong believer of justice and she was very determined to bring justice in many nations at the expense of her freedom in many instances, Kathy was imprisoned several times and was thrown into prison where she describes as the place of the poor. The virtue of fortitude, that Kathy had enabled her to continue fighting for human rights and the freedom of many citizens in Iraq.
Faith is the theological virtue by which people believe in God and all that he has revealed to us and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself. As Mattison puts it, by faith "man freely commits his entire self to God and for this reason the believer seeks to know and do God's will (70). Kathy had faith that she will overcome all the obstacles in her way of bringing hope and justice to the people. It is clear that Kathys Christian virtues were a motivation in her entire journey especially when Kathy witnessed the terrible conditions in some of the Iraq hospital wards where Kathy points out that the sanctions present in such conditions was like a lethal weapon that destroyed the live f the most vulnerable individuals in Iraq. Children were dressed in rags and some of them ran barefoot in oozing mud that was mixed with sewage but in all these occurrences, Kathy had faith that all these conditions could be changed.
Hope is the theological virtue where people yearn for the kingdom of heaven and the eternal life as the ultimate happiness. The virtue of hope responds to the desire for happiness that every individual possesses. Hope in most cases helps people from the discouragements of the daily life with the hope that the current situation will change someday. Kathy was very hopeful of every situation that she encountered in her entire life because it is hope that sustained her in the time of abandonment and her selfless nature was enhanced by this virtue. Kathys ability to persevere in all her tribulations is a clear indication of hope that she had of a better future where suffering and war will be no more and the society will be filled with happiness and joy (Kelly 15).
Charity is the theological virtue where we love God as our creator and our neighbor as we love ourselves. In so doing, the society becomes a peaceful place where people live in harmony and being mindful of one another. This virtue was embraced by Kathy because in her entire life, she did not understand why some people could cause pain and suffering to their fellows. The numerous injustices in society motivated Kathy to fight for the freedom and justice to the most vulnerable people in the society.
A happy and peaceful society is been aspired for by every individual in our society today but peace cannot be achieved if individuals do not realize that this progress starts with every individual. In the pursuit of personal happiness, individuals should realize the need to consider other people so that they do not end up exploiting them. If we embrace all the seven virtues then society will be a better place for all of us (Quart 4). Kathys life was a virtuous life because she was able to overcome all the obstacles that she faced. With hope, she believed that change will one day be achieved and in spite of all the tribulations that went through, Kathy came out victorious. With fortitude and temperance Kathy was able to ring change. Instead of giving up and following her desires, she decided to bear it all by fighting for the weak in society.
Kelly, Kathy. Other Lands Have Dreams: From Baghdad to Pekin Prison. Petrolia, Calif: CounterPunch, 2005. Print.
Mattison, William. Introducing Moral Theology: True Happiness and the Virtues. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos, 2008. Print
Quart, Alissa. Branded: The Buying and Selling of Teenagers. New York: The Perseus Books Group, 2003. Print.
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