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 into our lives. Our focus shifts from obsessing about food, sex, work, etc. to other aspects of our lives that require and deserve our attention. We move towards the good; we move towards God; we make a change for the better. We move away from sin when temperance is embraced because we live healthier lives, chaste lives, and balanced lives – devoting our attention to the good.
Here is a clip from Christophers.org explaining the virtue of Temperance.
How does Temperance stem from the Commandments? We will address the answer to that question in the next three reflections on the virtue of Temperance. Don’t miss it!
1Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica, II-II Q.141 a.6. newadvent.org.