Fortitude or courage is the virtue whereby, rather than abandoning one’s moral responsibility, duty, or obligation, one has the ability and strength to endure difficulties, obstacles, opposition, and persecution. It is the power to persevere in times of trial and tribulation. Fortitude can even give someone the heroic strength to sacrifice his life for a greater and higher good, for example, to save innocent victims. This virtue does not eliminate fear but it allows a person to overcome fear.
Pain, hardship, danger, and even threat of death deter many people from doing the morally right thing. Fortitude gives them the power to conquer those hurdles and remain faithful. Cowardice is the defective absence of courage or fortitude. Rashness or foolhardiness is the excess. There is a saying “Only fools rush in where angels fear to tread,” which means, it is not a lack of courage or fortitude to move slowly, carefully, and cautiously when possible.
Patience and perseverance are by-products of fortitude and help a person remain courageous for longer periods of time. They also build up stamina and promote the ability to bear wrongs patiently, which is a spiritual work of mercy.