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142. Vices Opposed to Temperance

1. Nature has associated pleasure with the operationsnecessary for life. Man is to make use of these pleasures in so faras they are required for his well-being. To reject pleasure to theextent of omitting what is necessary for preserving nature, whetherin the individual or in the race, would be the vice ofinsensibility. Insensibility is a vice opposed to temperance. Now,insensibility is not to be confused with abstinence, which isuseful and sometimes necessary even in the natural order. In thesupernatural order it is right and reasonable, and hence virtuous,freely to renounce all use of sex, and much of the pleasure of thetable, so that one may devote oneself more completely to the lifeof spiritual perfection.

2. Intemperance is the direct opposite to temperance.Aristotle calls it (Ethic. iii 12) a childishvice. The adjective is justified; intemperance, like an ill-trainedand unruly child, is unreasonable, headstrong, willful, wanting itsown way, knowing not where to stop, and growing stronger in itsdisgusting qualities the more it is indulged. Finally (and stilllike an unruly child), intemperance is corrected only by having itstendencies curbed and restrained.

3. Intemperance is a more grievous vice than cowardice,for there is in it more of a person's own choice. It is lessexcusable than cowardice, for of the two vices it is the morereadily cured.

4. Intemperance is the most disgraceful of vices, for itindulges pleasures that men and animals have in common; it tends tolevel a man to the state of a beast. And intemperance so dims thelight, and weakens the control of reason, that it makes a man slaveto his bodily cravings. Hence, intemperance is both inhuman andslavish; it shames and disgraces its victim in the eyes of hisfellowmen.

"Shun too great a desire for knowledge, for in it there is much fretting and delusion. Intellectuals like to appear learned and to be called wise. Yet there are many things the knowledge of which does little or no good to the soul, and he who concerns himself about other things than those which lead to salvation is very unwise. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"Before a man chooses his confessor, he ought to think well about it, and pray about it also; but when he has once chosen, he ought not to change, except for most urgent reasons, but put the utmost confidence in his director."
St Philip Neri

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"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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