Temperance is defined as the virtue by which a man has the power to control his concupiscible appetites, especially those that are appealed to through the sense of taste and the sense of touch. Concupiscible appetites are man's appetites for sense pleasure. The two strongest sense pleasures that are within the experience of man are those related to the preservation of his body, enjoyed through eating and drinking, and those related to the preservation of the race, enjoyed through the conjugal union. The virtue of chastity is, therefore, a species of temperance, but since it has been treated in a special examen, the present one will confine itself to temperance in eating and drinking. Just as in matters pertaining to chastity, there is lawful and unlawful indulgence in sense pleasure, so in eating and drinking. God created the appetites and pleasures connected with eating and drinking and the objects that satisfy them, so that man would have an added incentive for preserving his life by taking nourishment. When the pleasure of eating and drinking is not separated from the purpose of self-preservation, and not contrary to it by being harmful to either body or soul, then it is morally good. Opposed to temperance in this restricted sense are the sins of gluttony and drunkenness. These have always been pre-eminently pagan vices, from the time of the ancient Roman epicureans down to modern times when neo-paganism has promoted the eager pursuit of pleasures of sense for their own sake alone. Opposed to intemperance is the practice of mortification, whereby one not only rejects inordinate indulgence in the pleasures of sense, but practices self-denial even in some lawful things so that he will be strengthened in will against the assaults of temptation. Sins against temperance may be outlined as follows:
I. Mortal Sins against Temperance
1. Have I, as a physician, nurse or attendant, deliberately given medicine or food to a sick person, which I knew would bring about their death?
2. Have I drunk intoxicating liquor to the extent that I lost control of my senses?
3. Have I sold intoxicating liquor to one whom I knew to be on the verge of intoxication?
4. Have I made my family suffer grave privation by spending most of my income on drink?
5. Have I knowingly broken my fast and then received Holy Communion?
6. Have I broken the law of abstinence by deliberately eating meat on a Friday or some other day of abstinence, unless excused or dispensed?
7. Have I without a reason of health or hard work or without a dispensation, broken the law of fast by taking more than one full meal on a day of fast?
8. Have I used drugs or narcotics, not under a doctor's orders, but for the sake of losing consciousness or with the danger of becoming an addict?
9. Have I, without serious reason, given drugs to others whom I knew to be in danger of becoming addicts? Have I given others narcotics?
II. Venial Sins against Temperance
1. Have I semi-deliberately made myself indisposed by overeating?
2. Have I given in to gluttony by nibbling almost every hour of the day?
3. Have I been indiscreet in not obeying the advice of a doctor as to my choice of foods?
4. Have I eaten slightly more than was permitted on days of fast when I had no excuse or dispensation?
5. Have I taken more intoxicating liquor than was good for me, even though I did not become actually drunk?
6. Have I run the risk of either harming my health or becoming an addict of drink by taking some form of alcohol too frequently?
7. Have I spent more than I could rightly afford on intoxicating beverages?
8. Have I jested about drunkenness and so lessened others' hatred of it as a grave sin?
9. Have I encouraged others to drink more than was good for them?
10. Have I broken a promise or pledge not to drink intoxicating liquor for a certain period of time?
III. Helps And Counsels
1. Have I practiced any mortification of taste either by denying myself certain foods or by not eating at certain times?
2. Have I meditated on the thirst of our Lord on the Cross, that I might be inspired to share his suffering for my sins?
3. Have I tried to use my influence over friends and acquaintances to prevent any kind of overindulgence in alcohol?
4. Have I prayed before and after meals, both to show gratitude to God for His gifts and to ask for strength not to misuse them?
5. Have I realized that intemperance in eating or drinking easily leads to intemperance in the form of lust?
Aspiration: O good Jesus, within Thy wounds hide me.
(formerly 300 days indulgence)
Prayer: O gentle Jesus, who didst suffer agonizing thirst on the Cross to atone for the many sins that would be committed through the sense of taste, accept my sorrow for all my lack of mortification and my many sins in this regard. Thou didst bestow on us so many things, which we did not deserve that it should be impossible even to think of offending Thee by misusing them in any way. And yet our ingratitude reaches even so far that we have been unwilling to share in the smallest way the many and great privations of Thy own life and death, and have rebelled against Thy commandments and Thy Church in gratifying excessively the appetites Thou hast given us. Let me atone for my own sins of the past by acquiring strong habits of mortification, and let me make reparation for the many sins of gluttony and drunkenness in the world by penance and self-denial. O Mary, Mother of Christ, obtain for me the grace to use rightly and reasonably all the good things bestowed on me by God.
Meekness is the virtue that enables one to overcome the tendencies of anger, revenge, hatred and enmity. Many of its manifestations have already been listed under the heading of charity, because the principal incentives to anger come from the words or actions of a fellow human being. Thus meekness presupposes the virtue of charity or love of neighbor, which provides the motives and the means of overlooking insult, injustice and injury, real or imaginary, from others. The vice of anger, to which meekness is opposed, is responsible for very much of the misery in the world. It is a vice in which an animal passion in man is permitted to dominate his words and actions as if he possessed neither reason nor free will. In the brute animals, anger is directed by instinct to the purposes of self-defense and self-preservation, as exemplified when a brute fights for food, or against an enemy, or in defense of its young. In man, anger is also designed by nature to be a means of self-defense and selfpreservation, but, like all the passions, in him it is meant to be under the complete control of reason and free will. This means that even in a man who possesses merely natural virtue, all motivations to anger must be trained to submit to the judgment of reason, and that the will be permitted to act, not on the suggestion of anger but on the judgment of reason. A man who possesses supernatural virtue has all the teachings of faith to assist his judgment in deciding against the impulses of anger. Anger, therefore, as a vice, is the habit of acting as the passion dictates without subjecting it to reason or faith. One who habitually acts thus, indulging in intemperate words and vicious actions, places himself below the level of the brutes. Brutes are guided at least by instinct. Reason is to take the place of that instinct in man, and when it is abandoned there is nothing left but blind and selfish force.
I. Mortal Sins against Meekness
1. Have I deliberately permitted myself to become so violently angry that it destroyed my reason for a time and made me incapable of acting like a human being?
2. Have I hurt others seriously in anger?
3. Have I knowingly and deliberately made others angry to a point where they were bereft of reason?
4. Have I planned revenge against others, looking for an opportunity to do serious harm to them?
5. Have I actually taken revenge by doing serious harm, e.g., by ruining a person's business, by destroying his reputation, by stealing?
6. Have I permitted anger against others to become hatred, so that I wished them serious misfortune and refused to speak to them for a considerable length of time? 7. Have I refused to forgive others who had wronged me and who asked for forgiveness in a direct or indirect way?
8. After causing another to show signs of hatred for me, have I refused to show by any sign that I wanted to be forgiven?
9. Have I induced others to hate their neighbors by working on their anger and providing motives for continued hatred?
10. Have I, through jealousy of others, deliberately tried to destroy a good work that or to hamper it seriously?
II. Venial Sins against Meekness
1. Have I taken part in petty quarrels and bitter arguments?
2. Have I given in to sudden spurts of anger by harsh words, by calling names, by abusive language?
3. Have I shown dislike and antipathy for others by snubbing them, by being sarcastic toward them, or by any unkindness?
4. Have I given in to moods of sullenness and moroseness towards others?
5. Have I shown sensitiveness and hurt feelings over trifling matters?
6. Have I carried and shown a grudge against others for some time?
7. Have I talked back peevishly to superiors when I was corrected?
8. Have I, as a superior, corrected others in the heat of anger?
9. Have I shown envy of others by picking at their characters, by lessening their esteem in the eyes of others?
10. Have I teased others until I made them angry?
11. Have I approved and promoted the angry feelings of others?
III. Helps And Counsels
1. Have I analyzed the nature of anger as a passion and recognized how it should be subjected to reason?
2. Have I realized that giving in to anger signifies the presence of great pride, because one who does not try to control his anger thinks so highly of himself that he believes no one should cross him in any way?
3. Have I ever meditated on the example of Christ, especially how He practiced silence when His enemies hired criminal witnesses to testify against Him?
4. Have I reminded myself often of the words of Christ: "If any man be angry with his brother he shall be in danger of the judgment"?
5. Do I know that not anger but meekness is the greatest sign of strength of character a person can give?
6. Am I aware that an ungovernable temper is the surest sign that a person is incapable of leading or ruling others in any way?
Aspiration: O God, grant us union of minds in truth and union of hearts in charity. (formerly: 300 days indulgence.)
Prayer: O sweet Redeemer, how great is the contrast between Thy conduct, under insult and injury, and mine! Thou wast silent when they accused Thee falsely; Thou didst not complain when they crowned Thee with thorns and scourged Thee at the pillar; Thou didst pray for the forgiveness of even those who nailed Thee to Thy cross. And I—how quick I have been to show resentment for even the unintendedslights I received; how often I have plotted revenge against someone for an imaginary wrong, and how long I have harbored ill-feelings toward others within my heart. I am sorry that I have been so unworthy a follower of Thee. Grant me the grace to be prompt to forgive; to be generous with those who are niggardly with me; to be meek and patient whenever I am tempted to anger. O Mary, who didst share in the ignominy of Thy Son's passion and death without complaint, obtain for me the grace to overcome every temptation to hatred and anger.
"For Thy power, O Lord, is not in a multitude, nor is Thy pleasure in the strength of horses, nor from the beginning have the proud been acceptable to Thee: but the prayer of the humble and the meek hath always pleased Thee." —Judith 9:16
Copyright © 2023 Pious House Tyler - All Rights Reserved.