Exodus 16:18

But when they measured it with an omer, he that gathered much had nothing over, and he that gathered little had no lack; each gathered according to what he could eat.

Temperance is commonly conflated with teetotalism. That's not what temperance is.  Hitler was a teetotaller.  He was not in the least temperate.  Temperance is not merely abstinence from drink but moderation in the use of the world's goods.  It refers to knowing when enough is enough with anything from cards to food to TV to surfing the Web.  The temperate parent does not sacrifice his daughter's happiness to worship at the altar of Monday Night Football when she is singing in the school choir that night.  Temperate spouses not only don't absorb themselves with booze, they don't ignore their relationships to spend excessive time sewing, fishing, or building model railroads in the garage.  They wish the boss good evening and go home, no matter how important a career may seem.  They know that, at the end of life, people seldom lament "If only I had spent more time at the office!"  Today, practice temperance in every part of your life, not just around alcohol.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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