The theme of this week’s lecture is fortitude. Just as the Israelites needed fortitude to endure enemy occupation, so too do we need fortitude to endure the modern-day attacks on the truths of our faith. Sharon gives us an interesting narrative regarding the Swedish Lutheran Church, which broke away from the Catholic Church around the same time as did the Anglican Church. No longer rooted in the truths of Catholicism, the Swedish Lutheran Church began to ordain women in the 1950’s. As a result, over 40% of their “priests” are now women and in recent years, their church performs “same-sex” weddings. The Swedish culture has further wandered from truth as evidenced by pre-schools that no longer refers to boys and girls by their respective appropriate pronoun, but rather uses the gender-neutral word “hen” when addressing a child. Sharon then gives additional examples of cultural assaults on gender identity: a Canadian parent who refused to register his offspring as a boy or girl; a California law which penalizes health care providers who use the wrong pronoun when addressing a trans-gender individual. These stories exemplify classic voluntarism philosophy, whereby the will supersedes the intellect. Sharon then goes on to give a rousing lecture of encouragement, giving Biblical examples of fortitude: Joshua, Caleb, David, Elijah, Daniel, and many more. The epitome of fortitude is seen in Mary and Jesus and Christ’s victory over death on the cross. Amazingly, Pope John Paul II first identified the threat of gender ideology over 13 years ago, and his successors Popes Benedict and Francis have continued the clarion call against this demonic ideologic colonization that threatens the very core of our identity as sons and daughters of God. Sharon then teaches us about the cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, fortitude) and the theological virtues (faith, hope and charity). The lecture concludes by focusing on Isaiah 14, which mentions the “Day Star.” Unlike St. Peter who referenced Jesus in similar words, this passage in Isaiah is actually referencing Lucifer, whose name means “light bearer.” The most beautiful of angels, Lucifer was cast out of heaven by the Archangel Michael when he refused to serve God’s glorious plan of salvation for humanity. We will experience the peaceful kingdom of Isaiah 11 when we are in the beatific vision, but while we are still on earth, Lucifer will continue to wage battle against us, and we need to pray for the virtue of fortitude so that we may endure to the end.