Ask a question: If a woman assents to the truths of faith, then she is obliged to accept the Church’s moral teaching on, for instance, reproduction. She may wonder if too much will be demanded of her, or whether she can endure it.
Hypothesis: By assent of the intellect and will, she believes she will be offered the grace to do God’s will. In the practice of prudence, she hopes she can see the bigger picture well enough to navigate motherhood. She hopes she can see reality with honesty, make sound judgments, reason to good decisions, and carry through to right actions. In the practice of justice, she hopes she can be open to her husband and her children fairly and love them as they are. In the practice of fortitude, she hopes she can have courage when courage is needed and endurance when endurance is required. In the practice of temperance, she hopes she can moderate pleasure toward what is good and achieve “selfless self-preservation.” (Joseph Pieper, The Four Cardinal Virtues. NY: Harcourt, Brace, and World, Inc., 1965, p. 147.)
Prediction: She has faith that the commands of God are true, even though she does not know exactly what to expect in her temporal life. She is certain in her hope for everlasting life with God, the eternal source of all life and love.
Test: She obeys the commands of Christ and the teachings of the Church. She participates in the Sacraments. She prays. She is open to receiving grace.
Data and Analysis: She hears the voice of God guiding her. She sees that she can trust herself to determine good decisions and actions, and she has confidence. She sees that she enters into a deeper relationship with God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, with the Blessed Mother, with the whole Church, the saints, her guardian angel, her husband, children, family, friends, and sometimes even her enemies, and she has security. She sees that she can trust herself to face difficulty and survive it, and she has peace. She sees that she can both enjoy the pleasures of life and control indulgence, and she has happiness.
Replication: So she takes another step in faith, and prays that she is granted the grace to grow in virtue, this time with more hope and love than before. When she fails, she confesses it, accepts more grace, and keeps trying.
External Review: The evidence of faith is all around her, spiritually and tangibly, in her heart and mind, in the daily life of her marriage, in the children she did not think she could raise, in the children she lost, in the pain she did not think she could survive, in the friendships that grew deeper, in the relationships that are wounded because she has hope they will heal, in nature—and dare she say—in the sun and flowers and the air she breathes, a pervading inner peace and strength that is beyond her, even amid turmoil.
Sharing: And she shares with others what she has learned from testing faith in her life. She evangelizes.