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Life in Christ

445

1809

Temperance

is the moral virtue that moderates the attrac-

tion of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods.

It ensures the will’s mastery over instincts and keeps desires within

the limits of what is honorable. The temperate person directs the

sensitive appetites toward what is good and maintains a healthy

discretion: “Do not follow your inclination and strength, walking

according to the desires of your heart.”

72

Temperance is often

praised in the Old Testament: “Do not follow your base desires, but

restrain your appetites.”

73

In the New Testament it is called

“moderation” or “sobriety.” We ought “to live sober, upright, and

godly lives in this world.”

74

To live well is nothing other than to love God with all one’s

heart, with all one’s soul and with all one’s efforts; from this

it comes about that love is kept whole and uncorrupted

(through temperance). No misfortune can disturb it (and this

is fortitude). It obeys only [God] (and this is justice), and is

careful in discerning things, so as not to be surprised by

deceit or trickery (and this is prudence).

75

The virtues and grace

1810

Human virtues acquired by education, by deliberate acts

and by a perseverance ever-renewed in repeated efforts are puri-

fied and elevated by divine grace. With God’s help, they forge

character and give facility in the practice of the good. The virtuous

man is happy to practice them.

1811

It is not easy for man, wounded by sin, to maintain moral

balance. Christ’s gift of salvation offers us the grace necessary to

persevere in the pursuit of the virtues. Everyone should always ask

for this grace of light and strength, frequent the sacraments, coop-

erate with the Holy Spirit, and follow his calls to love what is good

and shun evil.

72

Sir

5:2; cf. 37:27-31.

73

Sir

18:30.

74

Titus

2:12.

75 St. Augustine,

De moribus eccl.

1, 25, 46: PL 32, 1330-1331.

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