The Cardinal Virtues // Temperance

I’ve been doing a Temperance challenge this summer via Facebook with a wonderful group of encouraging women, and what I’ve learned is that I struggle more with frivolous spending than anything else.

The Cardinal Virtues // Temperance

Jesus, You practiced temperance; You were the Model of self-restraint, Never over-indulging in the temporal. My body being the Temple of the Lord, I must treat it with ongoing respect. Self-abuse destroys the body; Be it alcohol, drugs, or excess food. Lord Jesus, bestow fortitude upon me For my soul to control my body, To practice the virtue of temperance. Jesus, You are the source of my vigor. Through You, all is possible! Amen

My child, test yourself while you live; see what is bad for you and do not give in to it. Sirach 37:27

For three years of my life I was in the deep throws of an eating disorder. I spent many, many days obsessing over caloric intake, exercise and rituals surrounding food. I lost over forty pounds in a matter of a few months and almost destroyed my chances and abilities to lead the life I do now. A happy, healthy mom of three beautiful children. My appetite for perfection almost killed me.

Some read Sirach 37:27 and think “there, God is telling us to be perfect, to not eat things we deem bad or unhealthy.” I would argue that God is telling us quite the opposite. He is reminding us to govern our appetite, but not just our physical appetite for food, but also our appetite for perfection, success and power. Govern our hearts, govern our minds, our temptations. 

It took me a very long time to overcome the feelings and emotions that came along with my eating disorder. I am so blessed that I am able to now live life on the other side, but that’s not always the case. So often individuals are sucked into the idea of perfection and they cannot escape the tight hold. It isn’t always from lack of trying, just from the mere fact that sometimes, often times, the grip is too strong. 

It was many, many months, even years before I understood that allowing myself to eat food to fuel my body in a healthy way wasn’t displeasing to God, or anyone else. I wasn’t being “bad” or “imperfect” if I ate a brownie but I was giving into temptation and listening to the words of our enemy when I told myself that not eating=perfection. There is no perfection, there is only the ability to try, and keep trying. 

I know now that what is bad for me isn’t always what I’ve trained myself to think is bad for me, or what society may tell us is bad for us. What’s bad for me is obsessing over things that affect my life, my health and ultimately my relationship with Christ. My friends, do not allow that to take over your appetite. Do not let the temptation to lead a life for ourselves and not for Christ take over your appetite. Be faithful, be persistent. 

To Jesus through Mary- Dana Suther

What rules your appetite to have a closer relationship with Christ?

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The Cardinal Virtues // Temperance

You can have too much of a good thing sometimes. How many times have we eaten too much ice cream or chocolate or drank too much wine or some other alcoholic drink?

The Cardinal Virtues // Fortitude

As a single mother who suffers from anxiety and depression, this verse from Joshua is pretty much the exact opposite of how I feel some days.

The Cardinal Virtues // Fortitude

One unique aspect about the four cardinal virtues is that they prompt us to do good. Virtues are constant and unchanging, developed and refined through making good choices.

The Cardinal Virtues // Justice

The world shows us in vivid detail what evil is. All of us has the opportunity to evaluate whether or not we want to partake in what the world is telling us is "normal or "justified in action".

The Cardinal Virtues // Justice

Father, you have given all peoples one common origin. It is your will that they be gathered together as one family in yourself. Fill the hearts of mankind with the fire of your love and with the desire to ensure justice for all. By sharing the good things you give us, may we secure an equality for all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. May there be an end to division, strife and war. May there be a dawning of a truly human society
built on love and peace. We ask this in the name of Jesus, our Lord Amen

I said to myself, "God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man," for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.” Ecclesiastes 3:17

Have you ever felt like people never get what they deserve or heard people justify their actions by saying “Only God can judge”? The fact that God will eventually judge our actions is something that should actually put the fear of God in our hearts, not act as an excuse for leading scandalous lives. It never seems like justice can ever be served properly in the real world, only in movies and TV shows. 

How exactly can we give each person what they are due? It starts by treating everyone fairly. This includes what Jesus said about loving our enemies. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens, author Sean Covey recounts how he chose to act nice towards a coworker who was always rude to him. Over a few months, the coworker stopped acting rude and started treating Sean with respect. Eventually, the two of them became friends.

Even when other people are bragging about things that we consider to be wrong, we cannot yell or condemn them. If they are close friends or family, we have room to admonish, but we have to do so tactfully. When we yell or condemn at others, our words just become noise and the opportunity to help will just close up. Instead, we need to wait and listen and lead by example in the meantime. Pray for those who don’t know that they’re doing wrong, no matter how long it takes for that person to change. Just ask Saint Monica about waiting and hoping for an errant child to come back home.

When we practice the virtue of justice, we treat everyone fairly instead of taking vengeance or reacting like animals. We may not realize it, but by loving our enemies and doing good to those we don’t like, we are actually rendering to everyone what they are due. In the end, everyone deserves to receive mercy, but mercy can be delivered through an act of kindness as well as a gentle, tactful criticism. Justice helps us decide how we need to act towards others.

To Jesus through Mary-Monique Ocampo