Stir into Flame the Gift of God with... Temperance
Inside each and every one of us, no matter our place on the journey of faith, no matter our affiliation to country or creed, no matter our station in life or our level of uprightness, has a spark of the divine; a mark on our souls that declares us as being made in the "image and likeness of God" (Gen 1:26).
From this perspective, our life can be measured by how much we have nurtured that spark or to what efforts we have gone to extinguish it.
All we have and all that we are is a gift. Our families. Our friends. Our abilities. Our experiences. We are gifts of God and have been given gifts from God so that we might be gifts for others in His name. Likewise, we must view others as the gifts they are in their own right.
Just imagine if we treated everyone and everything as a gift?
No one would feel that they deserved anything and, yet, everyone would be grateful for all things.
To accomplish this great task, God equipped us with all we need to stir that spark into flame. Among these are the four cardinal (sometimes called human) virtues, the cultivation of which help us to become more aware of that spark inside of us, give us the desire to make it grow, and help us to diminish anything that would impede that process.
These Cardinal Virtues are Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude.
This Sunday's readings really speak to the virtue of temperance, which is defined as that which "moderates the attraction of pleasures, assures the mastery of will over the instincts and provides a balance in the use of created goods" (Compendium of the Catechism no. 383).
In the first readding, the Israelites let their passions override their faith. In the Gospel parables, we see two sons (both the prodigal and the one who stayed home) acting just as intemperately with their pettiness and desire for earthly goods. Even in Paul's letter to Timothy we see the confession of a man who overcame an intemperate past and grew in temperance through the knowledge of and devotion to Christ.
Temperance is about moderation, but it also incurs a sense of self-mastery and balance. It urges us into a sense of right relationship with the other. Through temperance we receive a disposition that is open to seeing the gifted nature of the world and treating it as such. It allows us to find that spark within and seek out growth in the other virtues.
For more on the Cardinal Virtue of Temperance, CLICK HERE or watch the 3 minute video posted below.
HERE is a playlist of the music that we will be using at the masses this weekend.