Virtue of Temperance

Updated: Mar 25, 2019

Happy Thursday Ladies!

When we understand gluttony as an inordinate desire, or a desire that is acted upon not in accordance with reason, it makes sense that the combating virtue would be one that drives us to work on self-mastery.


The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines temperance as “the moral virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It ensures the will’s mastery over instinct and keeps desires within the limits of what its honorable.” (CCC 1809)

One thing I want us to keep in mind, however, is temperance does not say we need to be withdrawn from desire completely. Temperance helps us know which desires are in accordance with reason and which are not.

St. Thomas explains it this way, “Since, however, man as such is a rational being, it follows that those pleasures are becoming to man which are in accordance with reason. From such pleasures temperance does not withdraw him, but from those which are contrary to reason. Wherefore it is clear that temperance is not contrary to the inclination of human nature, but is in accord with it. It is, however, contrary to the inclination of the animal nature that is not subject to reason.” (ST II.II. Q141. A1)

Temperance helps us be in touch with what is the true desire of our human nature, not our fallen human nature but our divine and perfected human nature as God had originally created. If we think back to Monday when I described gluttony as allowing yourself to be caged by your desire, temperance releases that cage. It allows us to live out true freedom.

Let’s come back to that question I posed earlier this week about how do you cope with stress and what is your first go to. Take into account your what your go to is to seek that comfort, and bring in the power of the virtue of temperance.

If you run to snacking and unhealthy foods as a comfort from stress, stop in that moment and bring God into that situation. Talk to him about what you are feeling. Then pray for the power to cope with that stress in a different way that is healthier. Maybe even implement different self-discipline practices into your day like no snacking, or some extra fasting during the week. Lent is the perfect opportunity to work on the virtue of temperance!

Come Holy Spirit and give us the strength to grow in self-mastery!

Walking together, -Sandra

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