instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Temperate remarks

Kairos awakes from a long winter's nap with several posts, including one on the enduring value of giving things up for Lent in the face of single-minded emphasis on doing "something positive."

This ties in with what I wrote below about fasting being a movement toward God, not simply a non-movement toward non-God. Giving something up is doing something positive.

And I think we can say it's not merely positive in its end -- viz., drawing one closer to God -- but in its direct object: Mortification of the appetite is an exercise in the virtue of temperance, which St. Thomas regards as the habit of "withholding the appetite from those things which are most seductive to man."

Interestingly, St. Thomas goes on to argue that
temperance is properly about pleasures of meat and drink and sexual pleasures. Now these pleasures result from the sense of touch. Wherefore it follows that temperance is about pleasures of touch.
So, generalizing temperance to withholding the appetite from those things which seduce the sense of touch, when Kairos Guy withholds his appetite from hot showers, his deacon should praise him for cultivating temperance.