Sunday 7 February is a Day of Prayer for Temperance, a day which offers us an opportunity to reflect on our relationship with alcohol and a day on which we can take time to pray for those who suffer from addiction.
Writing about temperance in the current issue of Intercom magazine Bishop Éamonn Walsh, Vice-chair of the Irish Bishops’ Drugs Initiative said:
We live in a world where many people wish to march to the beat of their own drum. Where freedom and tolerance means, ‘let me do what I want and you can do what you want, as long as it does not interfere with my freedom’. When a society takes down the protective banks so that everyone can be totally free, we could easily become a lazy lake with people floating around doing their own thing but really going nowhere. Once there is a focus in life, floating aimlessly disappears. A purpose develops with its own safeguards, priorities and balance. It is this balance that we associate with temperance. It may demand sacrifices to attain a goal for self or others. Once the habit of temperance is formed in one area of life, it can be drawn on whenever required.
Temperance has an unpopular image, it is perceived as a restrictive, a sort of kill-joy and spoil sport. Nothing could be further from the reality. Temperance brings balance and prevents excess getting a grip. Bad tempered behaviour or intemperate language is neither accepted in sport nor in social behaviour. Society is all too aware of how drugs, including alcohol, have done such damage to sport, recreation, working and family life. It has become so difficult for people to resist the culture of artificial and chemical enhancement for all kinds of performances and entertainment.
Bishop Walsh also suggests a concrete way of assisting young people in forming the habit of balance through the Confirmation Commitment. The Confirmation Commitment encourages candidates, with the assistance of their sponsors, to make a commitment to themselves and to others to lead a healthy lifestyle, respect themselves and others, and to use the knowledge about alcohol and drugs to stay safe. The gifts of wisdom, knowledge, right judgement and courage are called on to take, and to keep, their commitment.
Click to read the full article by Bishop Éamonn Walsh