Josemaría Escrivá Obras

Temperance is self-mastery. Not everything we experience in our bodies and souls should be given free rein. Nor ought we to do everything we can do. It is easier to let ourselves be carried away by so-called natural impulses; but this road ends up in sadness and isolation in our own misery.

Some people don't want to deny anything to their stomach, eyes, or hands. They refuse to listen when they are advised to lead clean lives. As for the faculty of generating new life — a great and noble faculty, a participation in God's creative power — they misuse it and make it a tool for their own selfish ends.

But I never did like talking about impurity. I would rather consider the rich rewards that temperance brings. I want to see men who are really men, and not slaves to cheap glitter, as worthless as the trinkets that magpies gather. A manly person knows how to do without those things that may harm his soul and he also comes to realise that his sacrifice is more apparent than real; for living this way, with a spirit of sacrifice, means freeing oneself from many kinds of slavery and savouring instead, in the depths of one's heart, the fullness of God's love.

Life then takes on again shades and tones which intemperance had tended to blur. We find ourselves able to care for the needs of others, to share what is ours with everyone, to devote our energies to great causes. Temperance makes the soul sober, modest, understanding. It fosters a natural sense of reserve which everyone finds attractive because it denotes intelligent self control. Temperance does not imply narrowness, but greatness of soul. There is much more deprivation in the intemperate heart which abdicates from self-dominion only to become enslaved to the first caller who comes along ringing some pathetic, tinny cow bell.

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