The Paradise of the Soul: Forty-Two Virtues to Reach Heaven

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“For I am certain that if anyone reaches perfection in just a single one of these virtues, they shall achieve perfection in them all. And whoever increases in one virtue, will simultaneously grow in every other virtue, too.” —Saint Albert the Great

What is virtue? It is not a question often asked anymore; yet throughout the centuries, philosophers have considered it one of the most important questions of human life. Coming from the Latin word for "strength," virtue denotes a steady habit of willing the good—in Christian terms, pursuing the love of God and neighbor—in some particular way. While most Catholics know the virtues of faith, hope, and charity, as well as prudence, temperance, courage, and justice, many of us are unaware of numerous other virtues, such as discretion, constancy, and holy silence.

Saint Albert the Great, one of the greatest Doctors of the Church, and one of the greatest intellects of all time, recognized 42 distinct virtues. His teachings not only name and define the virtues, but also direct and guide us in their fruitful exercise. Few are as qualified to teach on this subject as Albert, the Universal Doctor, best known as the teacher of Saint Thomas Aquinas himself. Only a man of true virtue could teach the truth of the virtues.

Brimming with heavenly insights, The Paradise of the Soul teaches what it means to attain beatitude—that is, the fulfillment of all virtue.  But as Saint Albert knew, since the fullness of virtues is contained in love, and because God is love, ultimately, we can only achieve true plenitude of virtue by possessing God Himself. This is the true paradise of the soul. Let Saint Albert the Great, Doctor of the Angelic Doctor, instruct you on the path to sanctity among angels.

St. Albert the Great
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1 Review

  • 5
    A Tool To Help You Grow in Virtue

    Posted by Cynthia B. on Aug 29th 2023

    Well first, I never knew that St. Albert the Great wrote on the virtues. Amazing book for those who …

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Editorial Reviews

Fr. Ezra Sullivan, OP (author of Heroic Habits: Discovering the Soul’s Potential for Greatness)

“In forty-two brief chapters, St. Albert the Great provides us with an invaluable aid for developing the necessary dispositions of the spiritual life. With clear explanations accompanied by heartfelt prayers, the ‘Universal Doctor’ of the Church helps us clear away vice and cultivate the virtues that constitute the beginning of Paradise. A treasure-chest of insight and wisdom for everyone.”

Fr. Basil Cole, OP (author of Angelic Virtues and Demonic Vices: Aquinas’s Practical Principles for Reaching Heaven and Avoiding Hell)

“Growing in virtue becomes easier when you know exactly what each virtue truly is, and its fake counterpart. Then we know what virtue we need to ask from God. Paradise of the Soul, explains, encourages, and warns all followers of the Lord Jesus with a short meditation. Then, if someone does not know how to pray very well, St. Albert, the professor of St. Thomas Aquinas, guides us with prayer as he might have with St. Thomas. What a timely masterpiece written eight hundred years ago from a doctor of the Church.”

Sister Mary Angelica Neenan, OP (Theology Professor at the University of Dallas)

“St. Albert’s treatise is a treasury of spiritual help for us today. Although written in medieval times, it presents the classic virtues in a simple and humble way, very accessible and very much needed in modern times. St. Albert offers profound insight into the truth about these virtues, as well as some gifts or characteristics that we do not often think of as virtues, with fantastic examples from Scripture and the saints. With excellent practical advice, St. Albert also provides signs and effects of the virtues while alerting the reader to signs of counterfeit virtues and possible pitfalls. Most of all, he gives prayers for each virtue which are quite beautiful and pedagogical. Thank you for the service of re-translating this valuable work, which gives us a great insight into the soul of the teacher of Thomas Aquinas.”

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