Evangelizing through the Catholic Arts

Practicing Temperance Part III of III


In part I we addressed transitioning from gluttony to fasting, and in part II we addressed transitioning from drunkenness to sobriety. Today we will discuss transitioning from lustful behavior to chastity.

When we lust after someone, we not only place temporal pleasure ahead of our love for God, but we also diminish the dignity of the person being lusted over as well as ourselves. Placing this temporal pleasure first and foremost above our end goal of eternity with God causes us once again to experience one of the seven deadly sins, or capital sins, of lust. It is deadly because our reason and will can become disordered by lust. Because the temporal pleasure is so strong, we willfully ignore the Continue reading

Practicing Temperance Part II of III


In our last reflection we discussed the need for bringing food consumption into moderation. Today we will discuss the need for addressing excessive drinking. Science has proven that excessive drinking, or alcoholism, is a physical disease, requiring spiritual and medical attention. Take a look at this video to learn the positive impact on the family life when excessive drinking is brought under control.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a twelve step program to address the disease from a spiritual perspective. Combined with a doctor’s care, physical and spiritual healing is possible.

Alcoholics Anonymous What are the 12 Steps?

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could Continue reading

Practicing Temperance – Part I of III

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Through the practice of the virtue of Temperance, we can move from a state of sin to a state of grace; from gluttony to fasting and abstinence; from drunkenness to sobriety; from lust to chastity. Whatever the obsession, we can move to a state of grace through the gift of the virtue of Temperance. Today we will discuss the move from gluttony to fasting and abstinence, with the other two topics covered in the next two reflections.

Let’s first define gluttony: It is an over-indulgent desire for eating and drinking, whether it is the quantity or quality of food. It becomes one of the seven deadly sins, or capital sins, when we opt for the food or drink over our Continue reading

Temperance and the Commandments – Part III of III

Self Control

In our last two reflections on the virtue of Temperance, we covered Temperance’s association with the Fourth Commandment to honor one’s father and mother and the Sixth Commandment, to not commit adultery. Today we will conclude this mini-series by discussing how Temperance is associated with the Ninth Commandment: Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s wife.

As with the discussion on adultery, from our last reflection, so too it is with lust for another that we sin in God’s eyes. Merely envisioning being with another person sexually, outside of the marital union, is considered sinful.

Lust is disordered desire for, or inordinate enjoyment of, sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive Continue reading

Temperance and the Commandments – Part II of III

Marital Fidelity

In our last reflection on the virtue of Temperance, we covered Temperance’s association with the Fourth Commandment to Honor one’s Father and Mother. Today we cover how Temperance is associated with the Sixth Commandment “Do not commit adultery.”

When God created the sacrament of marriage between Adam and Eve, He deemed marriage to be monogamous and life-long. “In citing Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:24, Jesus proclaims permanence to be the divine intent from the beginning concerning human marriage.” 1 Jesus reaffirmed the meaning of the sixth Commandment when He said, “Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate” (Mark 10:9).

As humans, we have a choice of one of three vocations in life: to remain single, to Continue reading

Temperance and the Commandments – Part I of III

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How is the virtue of Temperance associated with three of the Ten Commandments? The virtue of Temperance is associated with the fourth, sixth and ninth Commandments. That’s a lot of Commandments, which should send a message to us about how important God thinks Temperance should be within our lives. Today we will cover Temperance’s association with the Fourth Commandment, with the next two reflections addressing the sixth and ninth Commandments.

The Fourth Commandment: Honor Thy Father and Mother – In adhering to this Commandment, the practice of Temperance enables us to show respect for one’s parents and family members, sometimes through the curbing of our tempers and of our tongues; through the sharing of our possessions and personal time. In Continue reading

Change for the Better

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Exercising the “muscles” of Temperance enables a person to master one’s will, or in this situation, what we commonly refer to as having willpower. With the grace of Temperance, we gain control over our impulses and desires resulting in a healthy balance to our lives. Saint Thomas Aquinas stated it best when he said:

Now all the pleasurable objects that are at man’s disposal are directed to some necessity of this life as to their end. Wherefore temperance takes the need of this life, as the rule of the pleasurable objects of which it makes use, and uses them only for as much as the need of this life requires. 1

We remove the excess usage, and bring balance back Continue reading

What is Temperance?

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What is Temperance and how does it fit into our lives? Temperance is a cardinal virtue responsible for moderating our attraction to pleasure. It also provides us with balance in using things. Oh, how I have prayed for Temperance in times of stress, when I resort to comfort food! When we feed the stresses and emptiness in our life with food, sex, work, or an over indulgence of anything to excess, we lack the “muscles” of temperance. However, when we apply the virtue of Temperance to our lives, we direct our appetites toward what is good and maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

When you are on a weight loss program, and you begin to see the fruits of your efforts Continue reading