The Four Cardinal Virtues
The four cardinal virtues are Fortitude, Temperance, Prudence, and Justice.
Our Lady's Fortitude the Saint proves after this wise :
"How could this virtue be lacking to her, who, having cast away the pomps of the world, and despised the delights of the flesh, determined to live, in virginity, for God alone ? Unless I be mistaken, this Virgin is she of whom we read in the writings of Solomon : ' Who shall find a valiant woman ? Her worth is far off and from the ends of the earth.' " (Prov. xxxi. 10.)
Mary's Temperance, Prudence, and Justice are shown from her colloquy with the Angel :
"When she was saluted so worshipfully by the Angel: ' Hail thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee,' she did not puff herself up, as one might easily do who was thus blessed with a singular privilege of grace, but kept silence, and considered within herself what this unwonted Salutation might portend. What then was she, save Temperate, in her dealings ? But when she had been taught by the Angel concerning the heavenly mysteries, she carefully asked how this might be, since she knew not man. In this, without a doubt, she showed her Prudence. Moreover, she gave a noble proof of Justice in confessing herself to be the Handmaid of the Lord. For the Psalmist bears witness as to what is the Confession of the Just, when he writes : ' But the Just shall confess Thy Name.' (Ps. cxxxix. 14) The Blessed Virgin Mary then showed Fortitude in her purpose, Temperance in her silence, Prudence in her questioning, Justice in her confession. So by these four columns of Morals, and by the three of Faith, the Heavenly Wisdom built for Himself a house in her, and so filled her soul, that from its fullness her flesh itself was made fruitful, and the Virgin by a singular grace gave birth to the same Wisdom clothed in flesh, whom already she had conceived in her pure soul."
Whilst reading these words of St. Bernard, I have often wondered that the holy Doctor did not apply the three columns to the three theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity, rather than to faith in the Blessed Trinity.
The virtue of Faith we cannot find in the Soul of our Divine Lord, for Faith is " the evidence of Our Lady's things we see not," and the Human Soul Faith. O f Christ ever beheld the open Vision of the Godhead. It was not so with Mary. On earth she was still " in the estate of the way "; her soul had not yet reached its final resting-place. On earth she saw not, and yet believed. --- Famous theologians, amongst them St. Bernard, Albert the Great, St. Antoninus, Gerson, Denis the Carthusian, St. Bernardine of Siena, St. Thomas of Villanova, Suarez, Vasquez and Billuart, held as a pious opinion that the Blessed Virgin on certain occasions momentarily enjoyed the Beatific Vision, as this wonderful privilege seems to have been bestowed upon St. Paul. But it is certain that, if so, it was only in a passing manner. Ubi videtur, ibi non creditur.