The Cardinal Virtues // Temperance

Jesus, You practiced temperance; You were the Model of self-restraint, Never over-indulging in the temporal. My body being the Temple of the Lord, I must treat it with ongoing respect. Self-abuse destroys the body; Be it alcohol, drugs, or excess food. Lord Jesus, bestow fortitude upon me For my soul to control my body, To practice the virtue of temperance. Jesus, You are the source of my vigor. Through You, all is possible! Amen

My child, test yourself while you live; see what is bad for you and do not give in to it. Sirach 37:27

For three years of my life I was in the deep throws of an eating disorder. I spent many, many days obsessing over caloric intake, exercise and rituals surrounding food. I lost over forty pounds in a matter of a few months and almost destroyed my chances and abilities to lead the life I do now. A happy, healthy mom of three beautiful children. My appetite for perfection almost killed me.

Some read Sirach 37:27 and think “there, God is telling us to be perfect, to not eat things we deem bad or unhealthy.” I would argue that God is telling us quite the opposite. He is reminding us to govern our appetite, but not just our physical appetite for food, but also our appetite for perfection, success and power. Govern our hearts, govern our minds, our temptations. 

It took me a very long time to overcome the feelings and emotions that came along with my eating disorder. I am so blessed that I am able to now live life on the other side, but that’s not always the case. So often individuals are sucked into the idea of perfection and they cannot escape the tight hold. It isn’t always from lack of trying, just from the mere fact that sometimes, often times, the grip is too strong. 

It was many, many months, even years before I understood that allowing myself to eat food to fuel my body in a healthy way wasn’t displeasing to God, or anyone else. I wasn’t being “bad” or “imperfect” if I ate a brownie but I was giving into temptation and listening to the words of our enemy when I told myself that not eating=perfection. There is no perfection, there is only the ability to try, and keep trying. 

I know now that what is bad for me isn’t always what I’ve trained myself to think is bad for me, or what society may tell us is bad for us. What’s bad for me is obsessing over things that affect my life, my health and ultimately my relationship with Christ. My friends, do not allow that to take over your appetite. Do not let the temptation to lead a life for ourselves and not for Christ take over your appetite. Be faithful, be persistent. 

To Jesus through Mary- Dana Suther

What rules your appetite to have a closer relationship with Christ?

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