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Index catholic 12MonthExamen Confession

September — Temperance

Temperance is defined as the virtue by which a man has the power to control his concupiscible [physical] appetites, especially those that are appealed to through the sense of taste and the sense of touch. Concupiscible appetites are man's appetites for sense pleasure. The two strongest sense pleasures that are within the experience of man are those related to the preservation of his body, enjoyed through eating and drinking, and those related to the preservation of the race, enjoyed through the relationships of sex.

The virtue of chastity is, therefore, a species of temperance, but since it has been treated in a special examen, the present one will confine itself to temperance in eating and drinking. Just as in matters pertaining to sex there is lawful and unlawful indulgence in sense pleasure, so in eating and drinking. God created the appetites and pleasures connected with eating and drinking and the objects that satisfy them, so that man would have an added incentive for preserving his life by taking nourishment. When the pleasure of eating and drinking is not separated from the purpose of self-preservation, and not contrary to it by being harmful to either body or soul, then it is morally good.

Opposed to temperance in this restricted sense are the sins of gluttony and drunkenness. These have always been pre-eminently pagan vices, from the time of the ancient Roman epicureans down to modern times when neo-paganism has promoted the eager pursuit of pleasures of sense for their own sake alone. Opposed to intemperance is the practice of mortification, whereby one not only rejects inordinate indulgence in the pleasures of sense, but practices self-denial even in some lawful things so that he will be strengthened in will against the assaults of temptation. Sins against temperance may be outlined as follows:

  1. Mortal Sins

  1. Have I, as a physician, nurse or attendant, deliberately given medicine or food to a sick person, which I knew would bring about their death?

  1. Have I drunk intoxicating liquor to the extent that I lost control of my senses?

  1. Have I sold intoxicating liquor to one whom I knew to be on the verge of intoxication?

  1. Have I made my family suffer grave privation by spending most of my income on drink?

  1. Have I knowingly broken my fast and then received Holy Communion?

  1. Have I broken the law of abstinence by deliberately eating meat on a Friday or some other day of abstinence, unless excused or dispensed?

  1. Have I without a reason of health or hard work or without a dispensation, broken the law of fast by taking more than one full meal on a day of fast?

  1. Have I used drugs or narcotics, not under a doctor's orders, but for the sake of losing consciousness or with the danger of becoming an addict?

  1. Have I, without serious reason, given drugs to others whom I knew to be in danger of becoming addicts?

II. Venial Sins

  1. Have I semi-deliberately made myself indisposed by overeating?

  1. Have I given in to gluttony by nibbling almost every hour of the day?

  1. Have I been indiscreet in not obeying the advice of a doctor as to my choice of foods?

  1. Have I eaten slightly more than was permitted on days of fast when I had no excuse or dispensation?

  1. Have I taken more intoxicating liquor than was good for me, even though I did not become actually drunk?

  1. Have I run the risk of either harming my health or becoming an addict of drink by taking some form of alcohol too frequently?

  1. Have I spent more than I could rightly afford on intoxicating beverages?

  1. Have I jested about drunkenness and so lessened others' hatred of it as a grave sin?

  1. Have I encouraged others to drink more than was good for them?

  1. Have I broken a promise or pledge not to drink intoxicating liquor for a certain period of time?

III. Helps And Counsels

  1. Have I practiced any mortification of taste either by denying myself certain foods or by not eating at certain times?

  1. Have I meditated on the thirst of our Lord on the Cross, that I might be inspired to share his suffering for my sins?

  1. Have I tried to use my influence over friends and acquaintances to prevent any kind of over-indulgence in alcohol?

  1. Have I prayed before and after meals, both to show gratitude to God for His gifts and to ask for strength not to misuse them?

  1. Have I realized that intemperance in eating or drinking easily leads to intemperance in the form of lust?

Aspiration: O good Jesus, within Thy wounds hide me. (300 days indulgence.) [169]

Prayer: O gentle Jesus, who didst suffer agonizing thirst on the Cross to atone for the many sins that would be committed through the sense of taste, accept my sorrow for all my lack of mortification and my many sins in this regard. Thou didst bestow on us so many things, which we did not deserve that it should be impossible even to think of offending Thee by misusing them in any way. And yet our ingratitude reaches even so far that we have been unwilling to share in the smallest way the many and great privations of Thy own life and death, and have rebelled against Thy commandments and Thy Church in gratifying excessively the appetites Thou hast given us. Let me atone for my own sins of the past by acquiring strong habits of mortification, and let me make reparation for the many sins of gluttony and drunkenness in the world by penance and self-denial. O Mary, Mother of Christ, obtain for me the grace to use rightly and reasonably all the good things bestowed on me by God.