Saturday, August 27, 2016

St. Monica

St. Augustine and St. Monica

The virtue of temperance.

Celebrated as patron of alcoholics, St. Monica seems to have had an inordinate attachment to wine as an adolescent, yet she wasn't a drunk.  She's just the patron of alcoholics. Her maid scolded her for sneaking wine - which she enjoyed. She just stopped drinking because her maid called her on it.  Pretty much.

That said, St. Monica would surely be a great intercessor to help one obtain the virtue of temperance.  Temperance can be broader than simply abstaining from, or tempering one's use of alcohol.  One can be intemperate in many things, food, watching TV, reading romance novels, surfing online ... then there is the problem of intemperate speech.  

There's a poem for that.

I RANTED to the knave and fool,
But outgrew that school,
Would transform the part,
Fit audience found, but cannot rule
My fanatic heart.
I sought my betters: though in each
Fine manners, liberal speech,
Turn hatred into sport,
Nothing said or done can reach
My fanatic heart,
Out of Ireland have we come.
Great hatred, little room,
Maimed us at the start.
I carry from my mother's womb
A fanatic heart.

William Butler Yeats


The word temperance is derived from the Latin temperantia, which was used by Cicero to translate Plato's sophrosune, which meant restraint of the appetites and passions in accordance with right reason. As seen before, temperance is one of the four cardinal virtues, that moralists consider the most fundamental because it is the one on which the other three depend.  In the New Testament, the Greek noun sophrosune, is variously translated as "soberness" or "sobriety" when it occurs in the Acts of the Apostles and St. Paul. (1) The adjective sophron, translated indiscriminately as "sober... temperate...discreet," is listed among the attributes proper to people of mature age and to leaders in society. - Fr. Hardon


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