By Apolinario Villalobos
The hardest thing to do is to hold on to one’s temper, thus, preventing it to erupt. Not even Jesus was able to hold on to his temper when he drove away the money changers from the temple, nor when he cursed the fig tree that failed to bear fruits. The fact, however, is that there is a way, though with difficulty, to lessen its outbreak.
For the frail of heart, the alibi in flaring up is to release the tension from their system, which according to health experts is necessary. Pent up emotions when accumulated can cause death as the resulting excitement could overburden the heart. That is the health-related side of temperance.
On the other hand, unrestrained temper of man’s desire is expressed in many ways, such as lust which is emotional in nature, and greed which is material in character. So many families and lives have been devastated by the two frailties. News about fathers raping their own daughters sometimes occupy big spaces in tabloids and dailies. Siblings killing each other due to unsettled cases of fair sharing of inheritance also merit prominent pages of the print media and air time of newscasts.
The worst manifestation of uncontrolled greed is corruption that affects not only a family or a clan, but also communities and entire countries. Countries of peoples with strong moral character are lucky because their leaders immediately take the responsibility of misdeeds committed even by their subordinates. Worth mentioning here are Japan and Korea. In contrast, leaders of some countries deny to death their involvement in an anomaly despite glaring evidences, albeit, no formal cases have been filed in court, yet. This is now happening in the Philippines.
The greed for financial gain in the person of many Filipino politicians is such that no opportunity to exploit is allowed to pass. They practically lean on the norm, that unless proven in court, they are not guilty. That is why, it is important that a Filipino who plans to enter politics must at least have even just several units in Law, or be a lawyer…the better for him to know how to circumvent laws and policies of the government in committing crimes. One head of an agency who has been neck-deep in the mire of corrupt-related controversies even arrogantly said on TV that, being a lawyer, he knows what he is doing!
Even the religious folks are not spared from the weakness of uncontrolled desire. A Roman Catholic archbishop in Europe is being accused of accumulating wealth and living a life of luxury that prompted the new Pope to call his attention. Some priests are found to be diverting church funds into questionable projects. Some priests take off their religious trapping after realizing that to have a wife and children is more comfortable for them.
Temperance is a virtue. Earlier it is mentioned that it is not easy to put it into practice. However, it should be remembered that man is also equipped with “effort” that could somehow lessen whatever effects the unrestrained acts will result to. Whatever man does, even the simple breathing affects others… the world. Man lives in an open space where other creatures also dwell. We need not aspire to become saints after death, but at least, we should speak and act in terms of others’ sake.