The Freedom Found in Choosing Virtue Over Vice

Each day we are faced with hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. Some are big decisions, but most of them are inconsequential. Or so we may think. But the choices we make determine the people we become. Are you someone who chooses virtue on a daily basis? Or do you find yourself giving into vice more often than not?

Kendra Von Esh, a Catholic speaker and radio host, stopped by Morning Air® recently to discuss how the pandemic has made it so easy for us to give into vice, but how freeing it is to choose a life of virtue each day.

Kendra explained that as a revert to the faith, she has first-hand experience that making choices based on what feels good in the moment is not the path to a fulfilling life.

She said, “I didn’t even know what virtue meant for the vast majority of my life, before God honestly pulled me out of the pits of hell and brought me back to His heart. I was 100% viceful – selfish, doing whatever I wanted when I wanted, thinking about myself and not others, kind of snippy and judgmental.”

However, she told Morning Air hosts John Harper and Glen Lewerenz, when she began her journey back to her Catholic faith the change in her was evident, not only in her interior life but to those all around her.

“I came out of that confessional after 26 years and I was floating,” she said. “I had this joy, this vibrance, and this zeal that I couldn’t keep in. So as I was at the office (and it was a pretty toxic environment) the people who were my peers were asking me what I was doing. Was I on another diet? Was I working out? One woman asked me if I was pregnant. And all I could say was, ‘I don’t know. I went to Confession, and I think I’m like a super Catholic now.’ And everyone looked at me like, ‘You? You’re a Catholic now?'”

“But it opened up the door for people to talk to me for weeks and months after that,” she said. “Because I couldn’t stop talking about the change in me. And that was God. I know it’s God. It’s supernatural. I’ve tried many drugs and other things to make me that way and it’s nothing even close to that encounter with God in that confessional.”

But Kendra pointed out that even when you have given your life to the Lord, there are still times when choosing virtue is difficult. Like many people, the pandemic has presented challenges that make us seek pleasures that are not good for us.

“My big virtue that I’m working on is gluttony,” she said. “It’s not like I’m eating like a pig. I’m just lazy, making bad choices, and giving in to my bodily desires.”

Kendra said that she reached a point that she knew something needed to change after an evening in which her dinner consisted of a plate of cheese-covered Doritos followed by some Halloween candy. She said to herself, “You know what? I have control over this body. I can’t just give in to its whims for mozzarella-cheese-covered Doritos and Halloween candy.”

Since then she has been focusing on giving her body the nutrients that it needs, and it has helped her not only physically, but spiritually as well.

“I keep thanking God for helping me make this massive decision toward temperance and self-control,” she said. “Because the way to beat the vice is to exercise the virtue. Easier said than done though.”

Kendra acknowledged that the stress and isolation of the pandemic has led many people to choose vice over virtue, but that God’s grace can help to overcome those impulses. She shared that she has found prayer to be the best way to choose a life of virtue over vice, and it is only through God’s grace that we can overcome the snares of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Kendra said, “I’m not perfect at this at all, but I’ve learned to stop and to pray. It’s like the stop, drop, and roll that we learned if we were ever on fire. So I stop, I pray, and that moment of reflection sometimes makes that crazy bodily urge go away, and if that doesn’t work I’ll offer deliverance prayers.”

No matter what your vice is and no matter how hopeless you feel, there is always hope and grace waiting for you. And each day is an opportunity to choose virtue over vice.

Kendra told listeners, “If you’re out there with alcohol use, drug use, pornography, or any of these pleasure-seeking things that we have been trained by this world and lied to by the devil that they will make us happy – we only regret it after we do it, and then we feel even worse. Self-control is possible, and it really does come with our decision and choice, but also with God’s grace to help you get through those moments when you’re facing your own cheese-covered Dorito plate of food.”

Listen to the full conversation with Kendra von Esh below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. Central on Relevant Radio® and the Relevant Radio App.

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Stephanie Foley serves as a Digital Media Producer at Relevant Radio®. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she studied journalism, and she has worked in Catholic radio for 12 years. Stephanie is a wife, a mother of three boys, and in her free time she enjoys reading, running, and really good coffee. You can find more of Stephanie’s writing at relevantradio.com and on the free Relevant Radio mobile app.