REFLECTION: Restraint and moderation PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:21

In short, let´s practice temperance all the time. It´s one of the cardinal virtues on which many other virtues depend. Given the temper of our times, with all the pressures, problems, excitements, stimuli, etc., plus our inherent vulnerabilities, we need to be more aware of developing restraint and moderation in our daily affairs.
Our capacity to study and work, to be objective and not too subjective, to deal with others with greater meaning and substance, to undertake serious projects, etc., would be severely compromised if we have no effective dominion over our feelings, passions and our other bodily powers.

Temperance puts our human attractions and appetites in their proper places, not by suppressing them, but rather by using and directing them to their proper ends. It checks them from their tendency to dominate us and to lead the way for us, when in fact they need to be dominated and led first by our higher faculties.
We know that our bodily powers are in great need of direction by our intelligence and will, let alone, God’s grace. On their own, they can just go anywhere and drift according to moods, fashion, popularity, but hardly by the criteria of what is good and bad, what is true and false.

We need to do more weighing and calculation in this effort to develop temperance, because nowadays we are subjected to a continuing barrage of images and messages that tickle and titillate our senses and imagination, feeding our sensuality while starving our spirituality.

Consider the ads and commercials of drinks, foods, fashion, real estate, etc. They are all geared to play on our pride and vanity, and to appeal to our baser instincts. Even the vocabulary has created a new normal. To refer to things beautiful and exciting, people now say “it’s sexy” or “it’s sinful.”
Things are pretty reversed these days. What were taboo before are now the “in” things. What were normal before are now the new taboos. So, sex can now openly be talked about, while faith and religion have to be shunned.

Truth is we are always spurred to inflame our curiosity and to indulge on our emotions and passions. Even our legitimate desires and ambitions are made use of, leading us to the stages of obsession, oppression, addiction and eventual possession, if not by one’s own flesh, then by some worldly lure, and if not that, then, worse, by some evil spirits.

Just see how people are glued to their computers and FB! That’s why many people are now so very self-possessed, so self-centered that they are practically unable to think of the others, to spend time with them, much less to enter into the mind and heart of others, to feel compassion for them.

They are so dominated by the wiles of their own flesh that they cannot say no to its every demand and caprice. At the very first signs of hunger, thirst, tiredness, or the sensual urges, they immediately give in. No wonder, pornography has proliferated. Even the young now keep a large collection of porn. The virtue of chastity is practically extinct.

The obsession for looking good, feeling good seems to be systematically sustained by an ever growing industry of the wellness craze. Look at the many emerging business empires that cater to the body cult and beauty worship.

If not the flesh, then the disordered allurements of the world hold them captive. Many people want to conquer the world not in the altruistic sense, but in a purely selfish sense. They frolic in the world almost purely in pursuit of power, fame, wealth.

These worldly allurements have led us to all sorts of injustice and anomalies in society. There´s envy and hatred, discord and division that sometimes explode in violence. Social inequalities fester like cancer.

The worst cause and effect of intemperance is demonic possession, and not just some forms of mental disorder. Cases of this phenomenon are increasing.
We need to practice restraint and moderation always in our thoughts, desires, words and action. We must remember that we tend always to exaggerate. Besides, malice can affect us anytime, given our precarious human condition.

We have to remember though that the pursuit of temperance can only be effective if done as a reciprocal to our ongoing pursuit in developing love for God and others.

Temperance is never a negative virtue. It has to be the result of our effort to love. Otherwise, it will never prosper. It will encounter many difficulties. It will run out of motives. --FR. ROY CIMAGALA