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 in weight reduction, don’t you just feel great about yourself? You see a trimmer, fit person. You wear clothes that are smaller in size, and most likely you feel “more human.” This is because as human beings we are structured to move towards the goodness of God. Living a healthier lifestyle is a good thing, and therefore, moves us closer to God. When we grow close to God, Temperance is at work within us. On the contrary, when we are trying to fill the emptiness in our lives with something of excess, how do we feel? I know that when I have swung on the seesaw of weight control upward in weight, I feel lousy, unhappy, etc. This last go-around on the upward swing of my weight, I finally surrendered to the Holy Spirit and said I cannot get my weight under control unless the Holy Spirit takes over. With that, He has blessed me with a tremendous amount of Temperance (will power) to resist unhealthy foods. Since my surrender last July, I have lost 44 pounds! I firmly believe that the weight loss could not have been accomplished without the assistance of the Holy Spirit gracing me with Temperance and teaching me how to find balance in my life.
How does Temperance change us for the better? We’ll discuss the answer to that question in our next reflection on the virtue of Temperance. Don’t miss it!