The Vividness of Virtue
The inimitable Chesterton:
White is a color. It is not a mere absence of color; it is a shining and affirmative thing, as fierce as red, as definite as black.
When, so to speak, your pencil grows red-hot, it draws roses; when it grows white-hot, it draws stars. And one of the two or three defiant verities of the best religious morality, of real Christianity, for example, is exactly this same thing; the chief assertion of religious morality is that white is a color.
Virtue is not the absence of vices or the avoidance of moral dangers; virtue is a vivid and separate thing, like pain or a particular smell.
Mercy does not mean not being cruel or sparing people revenge or punishment; it means a plain and positive thing like the sun, which one has either seen or not seen.
Chastity does not mean abstention from sexual wrong; it means something flaming, like Joan of Arc.
In a word, God paints in many colors; but He never paints so gorgeously, I had almost said so gaudily, as when He paints in white.
from Tremendous Trifles