The Temperament God Gave You
Hero Award - Father Michael Rodriguez
Millstone Award - Bishop Michael Bransfield
The following was written by Joscelyn Voight , a 17 year old girl entering a cloistered monastery for discernment. She has been home-schooled and lives in a rural environment in Pennsylvania, participates as a prayer warrior at a Maryland abortion center and has gone with a church group to Peru for charitable purposes. She also has a website with many articles and poems, www.seekingavocation.blogspot.com. The following was extracted from one of her articles. Her website name is Sadie.
Only Through Suffering Can We in Our Sinful Human Nature Come to Know Love
“The thought of heavenly happiness not only doesn't cause me one bit of joy, I even wonder sometimes how it will be possible to be happy without suffering. No doubt Jesus will change my nature, otherwise I will regret leaving suffering and this valley of tears behind me.”
(St. Therese--'The Story of Love')
Not too long ago, while thinking of heaven, I realized I could not imagine perfect happiness in a heaven where suffering is not a part of love. It is not because I enjoy suffering, quite the opposite; it is because suffering is the strongest declaration of love we know on earth. A Poor Clare abbess told me once that only through suffering can we in our sinful human nature come to know love... but in heaven we will no longer be sinful, and suffering will not be necessary. Although this answer to my problem may make sense to most, it did not satisfy me. Then I came across the above quote. It surprised and comforted me to see that dear St. Therese found the same problem with heaven as I did.
Therese, slowly being consumed by tuberculosis and in terrible agony, deeply loving our Savior, says she did not find joy in thinking of eternal happiness with Him. At this time in her life she was beset by terrible doubts and an overwhelming darkness. She even felt there was no eternity. Her entire being relied on the purest faith in God, without support or consolation. I read somewhere that Therese once said she would prefer blind faith to visions and mystical experience as long as she could believe without seeing. Why, if her spiritual and bodily suffering were so intense, would she prefer the suffering of earth to the supreme joy in heaven?
The answer to this question is found in Jesus Himself. The all-perfect God, the wellspring of love, made His greatest declaration of love to His people through the greatest suffering. Jesus suffered an agony of soul and body greater than we could ever imagine and He died utterly alone in His sufferings. He did this for people who hated and scorned Him, He did it for those who would never repay His love, He did it for the very people who put Him to death. Jesus set an example of perfect, unconditional love through suffering. For this, He has made Himself infinitely lovable. We, modeled after God's own nature, love those who give to us, especially those who sacrifice their own comfort or riches for our sake. We love those who prove their love for us by submitting to our wishes at the expense of their pride or well being. Jesus rightly said there is no greater love than for a man to give his life for a friend, for that is all he has. But by friend, Jesus did not only mean those who returned his love or appreciated His gifts...
Later in her letter Therese insists her desire is not to receive personal happiness or consolation but only to give pleasure to Jesus. The more it cost her to give to Him the better, for she desired to give everything. What do we give if we give of what we own, what we already are? Is it not far better to make a new gift through some action, some energy, and some new exertion? Those who are not worldly-minded appreciate the labor and time of a friend more than all the empty gifts of money he can give.
Suffering is defined as the bearing of pain or distress. If we bear it and we welcome it for Christ's sake what better declaration of love could there be? I could call this the “secret” of suffering. This love of which I speak is Divine and perfect. It is deeper than we can fathom, it is consuming, and it drives us to perfect and mutual surrender. It is a love for which all of us were created, therefore every one of us experiences it in some measure and form, but it is never truly understood until heaven. I say the "secret" of suffering, for what I have just described is how suffering brings such intense love. To those who have never experienced this love, or who do not understand this secret, I am a crazy fool who desires pain, but, in truth, I'm in the habit of describing heaven as "love greater than happiness," for I cannot describe love apart from suffering. I have often said that I would willingly spend eternity suffering for Christ, and I do not understand why Jesus would not desire this act of love. I solve this thing that baffles me in a few words "in heaven, happiness is love," but my heart will not feel this is the true answer until Jesus Himself has explained it to me.
"My vocation is love. To be the heart of the Church until the end of history. My work in Heaven begins with my death, for my mission is to make others love Jesus, as I love Him." (St. Therese)
Editor's Note: Redemptive suffering is the belief that human suffering, when accepted and offered up in union with Christ's sufferings, can remit the just punishment for one's sins or the sins of another. Redemptive suffering does not gain the individual forgiveness for their sin; forgiveness results from God's grace, freely given through Christ, which cannot be earned. After one's sins are forgiven, the individual's suffering can reduce the penalty due for sin.
We can formally offer up our suffering such as by making a Morning Offering to give to Our Lord that day's efforts, works, joys, sufferings, intentions, etc. Or we can informally offer it up by asking God in our own words to use a suffering as it occurs. In Romans 8:13-14 St Paul says "For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die: but if by the Spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. For whosoever are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Mortification, the act of dying to oneself by killing off the sinful desires of the flesh, is practiced by doing what all Christians must -- fulfilling our duties, no matter how unpleasant; avoiding near occasions of sin (those situations that tempt us to sin); denying ourselves that which is evil, etc.
It can also mean voluntarily taking on unpleasant things that aren't a matter of duty or of directly fighting off evil habits, but which simply subject the flesh in order to increase humility, express contrition, and build up the Body of Christ (In an inscrutable way, our sufferings benefit one another. We actually help Jesus in His redemption of the world by giving to Him our sufferings to build up the Body of Christ.) These acts of mortification can include offering to God small acts, such as fasting or practicing abstinence when not bound to, or denying oneself an ordinary pleasure simply for the sake of God. They can also include offering to God acts that appear (to worldly eyes) more extreme and apparently bizarre -- the wearing of hairshirts, sleeping on a hard mattress or the floor, self-flagellation, etc. (These more extreme forms of mortifications should only be practiced with the guidance of a good spiritual director.)
A person specially chosen by God to suffer more than most people during life, and who generously accepts the suffering in union with the Savior and after the example of Christ's own Passion and Death, is known as a victim soul. The motive of a victim soul is a great love of God and the desire to make reparation for the sins of mankind.
The Temperament God Gave You
Lynn is a home schooling mother of 5 children (ranging from 17 to 3), married to Bill Dery for 19 years. They have a 14-year-old son who is currently studying in a minor seminary in New Hampshire. Lynn has developed a public speaking DVD curriculum for home schoolers which will be marketed later this year.She is a member of Regnum Christi and in charge of formation within her section. Because of this role, she has presented the Temperaments as a presentation numerous times.
By Lynn Dery
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have been born neat, while others leave a tornado in their wake? Why are some people always upbeat and optimistic, their glass “half-full,” while others seem to be enveloped in a black cloud, their glass always “half empty?” For some, no passing thought goes unexpressed, while others need to weigh every word. And why is it that some people view every statement of opinion as a declaration of war, yet others seem to be able to shrug off major insults without skipping a beat? The answer begins with our temperament.
This article discusses the four temperaments of our human nature and how they influence our personality, our motivation, and our life. Temperament is “one’s customary frame of mind or natural disposition” (Webster’s Dictionary) which tends to determine and is reflected in the way a person feels and reacts towards certain stimuli and impressions. Understanding our temperament will help deepen our understanding of ourselves and others. When we begin to see ourselves as we truly are, we can begin to make conscious changes for the better. Each of the four temperaments has strengths that should be capitalized on and enhanced in order to build up our families and the kingdom of God. Each of them also has weaknesses that can be improved and overcome with God’s grace and opposite virtue. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “It is no small pity and shame, that by our own fault we do not understand ourselves, nor realize who we are... [K]nowledge of ourselves is so important, that I do not wish you ever to neglect it...”
We may be a combination of these temperaments, but we all have one of them that is dominant. No one temperament is more desirable than another; each has vital strengths and makes its worthwhile contribution to life and the Kingdom of God. We can benefit from this information in our relationship with others, especially our children and spouses by realizing that God created us all differently, and we need to understand and accept the truth that people think and act differently than we do. The four basic temperaments are sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic.
People having a sanguine temperament are warm, buoyant, lively, and “enjoying.” They enjoy people, do not like solitude, and are best when surrounded by friends. Sanguines are never “at a loss for words.” They are usually in a lively mood and can be found whistling or singing. Boredom is not part of their make up. They are very optimistic. They have an unusual capacity to enjoy themselves; when they come into a room full of people, they have a tendency to lift the spirits of everyone present by their exuberant flow of conversation. The sanguine has a tender and compassionate heart. They can genuinely feel the joys and sorrows of the people they meet and have the capacity to make them feel important, as though they were very special friends. Sanguines have the God-given ability to live in the present. They can easily forget the past, so their minds are never befogged by the memory of heartaches or disappointments. The world is enriched by these cheerful people. As doctors, they are the ones with the good bedside manners. They make good salesmen, hospital workers, teachers, conversationalists, actors, and public speakers. Occasionally, they are good leaders. Ronald Reagan was a classic sanguine.
With the strengths come the weaknesses. The sanguine individual usually has the root sin of vanity or sensuality, as feelings can predominate to form their decisions, rather than reflective thoughts. They often speak before thinking and can dominate most or all conversations. Sanguines tend to be restless, impractical, and disorganized. Because they live in the present, they don’t plan well for the future. They are generally not good students because of the distractibility of their nature. They find it difficult to concentrate. They can easily waste time and be unproductive. They can easily go off on tangents. They are known for starting things but not finishing them. They cannot be depended upon to keep a time schedule or meet deadlines. The sanguine’s greatest weakness is lack of discipline to do such things as read the Bible, regularly receive the sacraments, pray, or perform acts of self-mortification, such as fasting or abstinence. A dangerous weakness for the sanguine is being prone to modify principles in order to fit into surroundings and with the wishes of contemporaries, i.e., giving into peer pressure. They can be tempted easily with lust. Finally, they can “fly off the handle” and then immediately forget all about it. Some virtues the sanguine should strive for are temperance, self-control, organization, and diligence.
A choleric temperament is reflected in hot, quick, active, practical, and strong-willed behaviors. They are self-sufficient and very independent, decisive, and opinionated. Cholerics are born leaders, almost from the crib. They are people in “continual motion,” and their activity is well-planned and meaningful. They have a well-organized mind, though details bore them. In fact, cholerics find detail work distressing. They are very self-determined, confident, and aggressive in pursuing goals. They almost always attain the goals they seek, even in the midst of severe setbacks or negative circumstances. They will finish projects they start. They can quickly appraise a situation and diagnose the most practical solution. In the medical profession, they are often found to be EMTs or Emergency room MDs where quick action can mean the difference between life and death. Many right decisions are reached by intuition more than analytical reasoning. Cholerics will not only be ready to accept leadership when it is placed on them, but will often be the first to volunteer for it. They tend to be optimistic and have pioneering spirits. If they become Christ-centered, they have a great ability to perform acts of self-mortification such as fasting and abstinence and do so above and beyond the Church’s guidelines.
Again, with the good comes the bad. The root sin of the choleric is usually pride. They find it difficult to realize what Christ meant when He said, “Without me, you can do nothing.” It is more difficult to reach a choleric person spiritually than any other temperament type in adulthood; their spirit of self-sufficiency carries over into the spiritual realm, and they do not feel that they need either man or God. Their negative traits are a hardness, anger, impetuousness, and self-sufficiency. Cholerics have serious emotional deficiencies. Christian compassion is foreign to their nature, and they can be thick-skinned and unsympathetic toward other people, their dreams, accomplishments, and needs. Cholerics can get angry easily and can nurse grudges. Their angry dispositions can cause them to be undesirable persons to be around. Unless they have been given a strong and moral standard, cholerics have the temptation to resort to any crafty means to succeed, even if it is at other’s expense. They can be sarcastic and blurt out cruel, blunt, and cutting comments. It is difficult for a choleric to apologize and to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Some opposite virtues for the choleric to strive for include charity, humility, meekness, empathy, flexibility, and mercy.
The melancholic is the analytical, self-sacrificing, gifted, perfectionist type with a very sensitive emotional nature. No one gets more enjoyment from the fine arts than the melancholic. They do not waste words but are very precise in stating exactly what they mean. Melancholics usually find their greatest meaning in life through personal sacrifice. Many saints in the Church have had the melancholic temperament. Melancholics have, by far, the richest and most sensitive nature of all the temperaments. They do not make friends easily, but when they do, they are faithful. They would literally “lay down their life for their friends.” The melancholic is the most dependable of all the temperaments, for the perfectionist tendency prevents those with this trait from letting down others who are depending on them. They have exceptional analytical abilities, causing them to diagnose accurately the obstacles and dangers of any project. Melancholics are “hounds for details.” They are known for having charts and graphs everywhere. They can be depended upon to finish a job in the prescribed time frame and hold up their end of the load. Melancholics usually prefer to do the behind-the-scenes tasks. They have a wonderful capacity of knowing their limitations and rarely take on more than they can do. Melancholics have an easy time performing acts of self mortification such as fasting or abstinence. When on the upper end of the mood pendulum, Melancholics can produce great works of art. Mozart was a melancholic. No other temperament has so much natural potential when energized by the Holy Spirit. Many of the world’s greatest geniuses – artists, musicians, inventors, philosophers, educators, and theoreticians along with many saints of the Church – were of the melancholic temperament.
One of the weaknesses of the melancholic is the tendency toward huge mood swings. When they are on the bottom side of the pendulum, they can appear introverted, gloomy, and depressed. The melancholic usually has the root sin of pride for they are surely the most self-centered of the temperaments. They are always dissecting themselves, layer by layer, and this self examination can become harmful. No one can be more critical than the melancholic. In fact, many a perfectionist has ruined a normally good marriage because their partner measured up to only 90% of what was expected of them. Melancholics can be prone to be pessimistic. They not only see the ultimate end of a project, but also what is more real to them – all the problems that will be encountered. Their pessimistic outlook makes them indecisive and fearful of making decisions because they don’t want to be wrong and fall short of their perfectionist standards. A melancholic is prone to be vengeful and finds it difficult to forgive an insult. Although composed on the outside, they are burning on the inside. Virtues for the melancholy to strive for include charity, joy, humility, gentleness, mercy, empathy, and compassion – seeing Christ in others.
The last of the four temperaments is the phlegmatic. Life for the phlegmatic is happy, unexciting, pleasant, calm, and easy going. Phlegmatics avoid as much involvement as possible. They keep their emotions under control. Their temperament is consistent every time you see them. They will not take leadership on their own, but when it is put on them, they prove to be very capable leaders. Phlegmatics make good counselors, diplomats, accountants, teachers, scientists, or other meticulous workers. They are natural peacemakers and do what is necessary to avoid conflict. They usually have a dry sense of humor. They can have a crowd in stitches and never crack a smile. Phlegmatics are highly qualified by nature to be counselors; their slow, easy-going manner makes it easy for others to listen. They are “Dependability” itself – cheerful and good mannered, determined to fulfill obligations and meet time schedules. Phlegmatics can work well under pressure and are practical as well as efficient. Their work bears the hallmark of neatness and efficiency. They are extremely faithful friends.
As with all the temperaments, the phlegmatic has shortcomings. The root sin of the phlegmatic is usually sensuality, under the form of the FLIS (feel-like-it-syndrome). They tend to do only what they feel like doing at the moment and have the potential to be slow and lazy. Because phlegmatics do what is necessary to avoid conflict, they can easily “run away” from their problems. Lack of motivation makes them spectators in life and produces the inclination to do as little as possible. They can be indecisive and prone to vacillate between wanting to do something and not wanting to pay the price. Phlegmatics can have a stubborn opposition to change of any kind. Virtues for them to strive for include temperance, self-mastery, and diligence.
St. Francis De Sales provided much insight for the Church regarding the temperaments. Since then, however, there has been a lack of writings on this topic from a Catholic perspective until the book, The Temperament God Gave You, by Art and Larraine Bennett was published. This book offers many insights for individuals and spouses as well as parents. Familia, a ministry at St. Joseph’s that helps to form families according to the teachings of the Church, will be launching studies based on this book.
If you are interested in being part of a team, please contact Monique O’Mara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hero Award - Father Michael Rodriguez
The local media began paying attention when Father Rodriguez, a parish priest at El Paso's San Juan Bautista Catholic Church, issued several columns against the homosexualist agenda earlier this year in response to the city council's decision to grant benefits to domestic partners of city employees.
In a column issued earlier entitled "Every Catholic Must Oppose Certain Things," Rodriguez laid out the simple proposition that "Every single Catholic, out of fidelity to charity and truth, has the absolute duty to oppose (1) the murder of unborn babies, and (2) any and all government attempts to legalize homosexual unions."
"I urge all of the Catholic faithful to treat homosexuals with love, understanding, and respect," wrote the priest, who called homosexuality an "unequivocally intrinsic moral evil" alongside abortion. "At the same time, never forget that genuine love demands that we seek, above all, the salvation of souls. Homosexual acts lead to the damnation of souls."
Father emphasized, in an interview, that the Church's teaching on homosexuality is based on Jesus Christ's love for each individual: thus while the Church promotes the human dignity of homosexual persons, he said, the issue of "tolerance" can sidetrack from the real issue. "The question always has to come back to what is the truth," he said. "Jesus Christ came to this world to bring us to Heaven. He teaches the truth with love. He loves all of us, all of us are sinners.
"Unfortunately, homosexual activists continue to avoid the real issues under the cover of these words ... equal rights, dignity ... The Church acknowledges all that, but there's still the real issue that, what is right and what is wrong? What are God's commandments? We like to talk a lot about rights: what is our duty to our fellow men, what is our duty to God, what do we have to do to be saved?"
Father Rodriquez pointed to the Gospel story of the rich young man who approached Jesus as guidance for what questions should be asked. "It's a beautiful question ... he doesn't ask Jesus about what are my rights ... he asks the key question that all Catholics must ask themselves: he says, 'Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?'"
Father emphasized the Catechism of the Catholic Church, as well as documents from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, are unanimous in calling homosexual acts intrinsically disordered and incompatible with the union of man and woman that constitutes the fruitful union of marriage.
"She [the Church] has to really love her children who are struggling with a homosexual orientation, she has to help those children to salvation, to be faithful to the truth with the love and tenderness as a mother," explained the priest. "Ultimately it's a question for a need for a profound healing. That's the question of any sin."
Taken from an article by Kathleen Gilbert - LifeSiteNews.com
Millstone Award - Bishop Michael Bransfield
Bishop Michael Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston -- West Virginia’s sole diocese -- issued a statement on June 28 following the death of Sen. Robert Byrd. One of the most influential politicians of the past five decades, the late Baptist senator generally opposed pro-life legislation and was in the pocket of the pro-abortion organizations such as NARAL which usually gave him a perfect score.
“Today our nation marks the passing of a great statesman and public servant, Senator Robert C. Byrd. While we will prayerfully reflect on his decades of scholarship, hard work, and dedication to the people of West Virginia, we must also celebrate the future that Senator Byrd helped shape.
Senator Byrd led the transformation of West Virginia’s highways, and technology, health care, education and criminal justice systems, which will advance the quality of life in our beloved state for generations to come.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offers its most sincere condolences to the Byrd family, and we pray during this difficult time that family and loved ones will remember that Senator Byrd is now at peace with the Risen Lord and, with his late wife, Erma Ora Byrd, is experiencing Perfect Joy.”
As everyone knew, including the Bishop, Senator Byrd voted on a number of laws that helped send millions of babies to death. How could this bishop conclude that a non-Catholic, or even a Catholic, immediately ascended to Heaven? Homiletics 101 tells you: "Don't canonize the deceased in your funeral homily!" The purpose of the funeral mass is to pray for the deceased and to express confidence in the Lord's mercy, but never to be so presumptuous as to canonize a person by declaring that he/she is in fact in heaven.
The Culture of Death is tightening its noose around the necks of the Catholic Church and they are winning elections because Catholic bishops such as Bishop Bransfield don’t have the backbone to confront pro-abortion politicians. Bishops are only too happy to meet with them socially, publicly flatter them for years, and when they die, publicly escort them to the Gates of Heaven e.g. Ted Kennedy.
If Bishop Bransfield truly cared for the state of Sen. Byrd's soul, he would ask his flock to pray for him rather than instantly canonizing him. What a missed opportunity...not only to encourage others to pray for the repose of Sen. Byrd's soul, but to share with others the teaching of the Church on life after death.
I believe in God's mercy, and I believe that Senator Byrd is in great need of that mercy, especially for his years of opposition to Pro-Life efforts and his unqualified support for abortion!
Let us pray for the late Senator Byrd and for our bishops who lack the courage to act like bishops.
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