Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Moderation -- A Means to Virtue Development in Extreme Heat

I couldn't believe it when the temperature read 97 degrees on my car's thermometer today. I thought this was spring, not summer. The last several days here in Virginia have been monumentally HOT! And, of course, our air conditioning unit (brand new) is not operational.

It's a remarkable thing what extreme heat, or extremes of any sort, will do to a person's temperament. It seems that all the subordinate temperaments fade into the background and the dominant ones rear their ugly heads with complete abandon. My melancholic/sanguine daughter became considerably melancholic these past few days, the same can be said for my sanguine/phlegmatic whose sanguine tendencies became overly pronounced. So, you can imagine what parenting has been like. Who knew we could become so behaviorally dependent on A/C?

Moderation is the key, it seems, in all things, at least according St. Thomas Aquinas. He is quoted as saying: "Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation." Thus, perfect moderation is to be desired. Self-mastery is essential and necessary. The Catechism offers this:
Chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery which is a training in human freedom. The alternative is clear: either man governs his passions and finds peace, or he lets himself be dominated by them and becomes unhappy. (CCC, 2339)
Growing in the virtue of chastity means learning to control the passions, which in turn will bring about peace and happiness. Obviously, it is something to strive for in our lives. I think with the proper direction and a great deal of Divine intervention this week, everyone was able to work towards achieving some self-mastery.

The need for moderation was made very clear this week when the Lord allowed us to feel the discomfort of extreme heat. He also allowed us to recognize that we have flaws and failings that need to be perfected through prayer and self-discipline. He loves us through all trials and asks that we love Him by suffering them well.

I have to say that my kids rose to the occasion in making lemonade out of the lemons of these less than ideal circumstances. They found the 6 man tent in the garage, convinced their dad and big brother to give them some help, and erected it on our back deck. They have been cool and comfortable through the nights enjoying the evening breezes in their own little retreat. With that small grace afforded them, it has definitely been easier to keep the temperament monster in his cage.

I think there will be some very happy memories involved with this particular Spring Break after all!


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