Fortitude is that strength or firmness of mind or soul which enables a person to encounter danger with coolness and courage, or to bear pain or adversity without murmuring, depression or despondency. Fortitude is the basis or source of genuine courage or intrepidity in danger, of patience in suffering, of forbearance under injuries, and of magnanimity in all conditions of life. We sometimes confound the effect with the cause, and use fortitude as synonymous with courage or patience; but courage is an active virtue or vice, and patience is the effect of fortitude. Fortitude is the guard and support of the other virtues.Webster’s American Dictionary
  Fortitude is the strength of mind, moral, physical or structural strength that allows one to endure pain or adversity with unyielding courage.Oxford English Dictionary
  Synonyms for fortitude include courage, stamina, bravery, grit, endurance, determination, spunk, backbone, constancy, pluck, guts, intestinal fortitude, nerve, and resoluteness.—Merriam-Webster Dictionary

“Edna Lister regarded Kipling’s poem ‘If’ as a perfect summary of fortitude.”


If you can keep your head when all about you
 Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
 But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
 Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
  And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
 If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
 And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
 Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
 And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
 And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
 And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
 To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
 Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
 Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
 If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
 With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
 And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
—Rudyard Kipling

Fortitude is best known as a cardinal virtue, a soul virtue, the strength of mind that enables you to be brave and courageous in the face of great adversity, and over time. Fortitude is an abstract principle, a law of being and of doing, a Via Christa Degree under the principles of energy and the Christ mind.

Edna Lister on Fortitude

Pray for fortitude and endurance to continue in the Way of the Soul’s Ascent, which is sacrificing the "little" of earth to gain the "much" of heaven.—Edna Lister, October 1, 1938.

It takes great fortitude, backed by a burning desire for God, to raise ascension of the soul from being a long, drawn-out process and struggle into an act that holds fast to its expression from the higher creative center of I AM consciousness. You must completely give up lower self indulgences without having to think about it first. Use that one instant in every situation to move up in consciousness, with never a backward look or thought.
  Always taking the blame for everything that comes to you, never blaming another for anything, requires the greatest possible fortitude. Above all, it takes this great fortitude to call down upon your life the Name of God on earth: Good.—Edna Lister, Faith, the Challenger, 1953.

As an answer to prayer an oft-told story of my youth flashed across my memory. My doubts had nearly washed away its memory. I recalled the tale of the pearl oyster’s plight when a grain of sand enters its opened shell to embed itself within the oyster’s heart, remaining when the shell closes. The oyster wastes no time in vain regret, but straightway uses all its power of life to encase that grain of sand to render it harmless. This work goes on for many years until a pearl diver lifts up that unimportant shell and finds a lustrous pearl inside, created from one tiny grain of sand.
  So, through the oyster’s wound and pain, borne in fortitude, a pearl is formed, a treasure sought by the whole world. From this moment I decided to adopt the oyster’s ways and waste no more time with any hurts or wounds. The story of the pearl would become my guide while I refashioned my life anew.

—Edna Lister, Black Pearls, 1954.

When someone near you lets their lines of responsibility sag, you can stand firmly in the kingdom of heaven and lift their lines for them. Do not go down in consciousness with them. To be a supreme lifter, you must have the intestinal fortitude to lift the lines and declare them good, then hold while their Guards take their lines up again. Declare it good. Love God so much that you would not let a cell of His great universe sag.—Edna Lister, April 4, 1957.

You must have the intestinal fortitude to lift all manners of lines of Light, declare them good and to hold until they are anchored in heaven again.—Edna Lister, September 30, 1957.

Intestinal fortitude gives soul the power to exercise choice.—Edna Lister, The Bond of Spirit, October 6, 1957.

Soul confidence begets fortitude.—Edna Lister, Manifestation, May 24, 1959.

Even God does not know what an embodied soul wants as its expression until that soul chooses. Your decision was wholly and entirely yours; you brought it back as heavenly advice and had the common sense backed by fortitude to put it into action, thus clearing the tracks of debris from the past and opening wide the gate to the future. You cleaned up a very messy situation in the short time you served in that place.—Edna Lister, June 19, 1959.

Fortitude is standing on principle, holding fast to truth, and knowing that God works all things together for good. Fortitude is holding fast to your principles no matter what.—Edna Lister, What Is Symbolism? October 6, 1959.

To bear trials and temptation you must be steadfast, having fortitude and courage. This includes the burning sands of the desert that each soul must cross alone.—Edna Lister, June 28, 1960.

You either gain in endurance and fortitude or end in weakness and self-pity.—Edna Lister, February 24, 1962.

Instability is the opposite pole of fortitude, and of the picture of A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.—James 1:8.—Edna Lister, August 15, 1963.

The three primary principles of Wisdom are obedience to the laws of God, concern for the welfare of mankind, and suffering with fortitude all accidents of life.—Edna Lister, November 9, 1965.

You must be strong to provide others with stability and security. Pay no attention to the appearance, whether of good or of evil. Practice the three Gs: grit, guts and grin. It takes intestinal fortitude and you must speak boldly.—Edna Lister, March 4, 1966.

Absolute fortitude enbles you to say, Father, thank You that You are doing the work.—Edna Lister, The Blind Man at the Pool of Siloam, December 6, 1970.

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of fortitude: Latin fortitudo, from fortis, "strong."

Fortitude is an abstract principle.

Fortitude is a law of being.

Fortitude is a law of doing.

Fortitude is a soul virtue.

Fortitude is a Via Christa Degree.


Fortitude is the marshal of thought, the armor of the will, and the fort of reason.—Francis Bacon

Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.—Winston Churchill,


Bacon, Francis. "Bacon," Dictionary of Quotations, No. 29. James Wood, compiler. London: Frederick Warne and Co., 1899.

Churchill, Sir Winston. Churchill by Himself. Speech given at Harrow School, October 29, 1941. Richard M. Langworth, ed. 2008, p. 23.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Webster, Noah. Fortitude. Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

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