El equilibrio interior. Placer y deseo a la luz de la templanza

[El equilibrio interior. Placer y deseo a la luz de la templanza]
Year of publication: 
Moral assessment: 
Type: Thought
Nothing inappropriate.
Requires prior general knowledge of the subject.
Readers with knowledgeable about the subject matter.
Contains doctrinal errors of some importance.
Whilst not being explicitly against the faith, the general approach or its main points are ambiguous or opposed to the Church’s teachings.
Incompatible with Catholic doctrine.
Literary quality: 
Transmits values: 
Sexual content: 
Violent content: 
Vulgar or obscene language: 
Ideas that contradict Church teaching: 
The rating of the different categories comes from the opinion of Delibris' collaborators

It is a good book about the virtue of temperance, complete, clear, illustrated with many examples taken from ordinary life and accompanied by citations from saints, theologians, thinkers, writers…; it is focused positively in order to show the beauty and attractiveness of this cardinal virtue. The book is written for a wide audience, and can also help in preparing religion or catechism classes or talks about temperance and other virtues related to it. L.R. (Spain, 2017)

The book seems to be drawing from the diverse experiences of the author in his work with the youth and young adults. It's a small book of thought, even if it is open to transcendence and the possibility of the gratuitous intervention of God. It is based on various ideas of J. Pieper, M.-A. Gotzon Santamaría, M. Ronheimer, E. Rojas and other Christian authors, not to mention St. Thomas Aquinas. Even if it has an explicit Christian background, the author had wanted that his reflections be useful to a public that is not very familiar with Christian tradition.

This book is useful for young adults, however, even those in the late adolescent stage can also read and benefit from it.  The reasoning and the examples are attractive and has a general public reach. It shows with clarity how passions, the reason and the will interact, both in virtuous and vicious acts.

The first chapter focuses on explaining what the virtue of temperance is, in which one can see the author’s talent in speaking in an accessible language about a theme that is not easily understood by present day society.  A society that has a habit of consumption that is so developed, that it has configured ways of self expression and thinking that is closed to a discourse on the virtue of temperance. The first part of the book demonstrates a false and very common idea of temperance. The second chapter explains why is it worth living temperately. There he relates  temperance with inner freedom, prudence and other dimensions of man.

In the third chapter the author tackles the exercise of the virtue of temperance in its different dimensions: in food, drink, procreation. He goes into details, and he writes in  a very sound and clear way. The fourth chapter is entirely about two passions which can moderate the sensible appetite of human beings: shame (modesty) and honesty (the love for moral beauty). The last part deals with the role of the sentiments in moral education. The fifth and last chapter explains temperance as an attitude towards life. In this chapter, one can notice that the author starts to widen his spectrum by writing also about meekness, fortitude, and other types of goods of man's desires which are not directly related to temperance. They are nevertheless, under the light of the interior balance, which is nurtured by the four cardinal virtues.

Now passing on to give some more concrete strokes about this little essay regarding the virtue. I find this reasoning interesting -of course with due respect to the sentiments and sincerity of the partners or couples who have decided to live together without taking on a commitment for life- that the union  between man and woman before making a serious commitment of mutual self-giving for life - marriage- doesn’t help in making them happy, that is to say, it does not put them in proper condition so as to love and receive love in a perfect way. The author gives his reasons, without assuming it as something evident, helping the reader to think from his own life experience.

As it has already been said, the book doesn't only deal with the virtue of temperance, since he also writes about prudence, fortitude and justice. Nevertheless, I think that the author is right about the title: “ Interior balance: pleasure and desire in the light of temperance”.  Indeed, even if the matters discussed have a wider scope than the virtue of temperance, they are all discussed under the light of this virtue.

It seems that some parts of the book gives reason to Evagrius Ponticus, because he points out that gluttony is the gateway to the other "spiritual diseases", among which he points out, considering that it is intimately related to it, lust. In addition, the author's preferred approach to the subject managed to show that all the virtues are closely linked, as can also be seen in the Eastern tradition of the Desert Fathers, when they show the interconnection between the different spiritual diseases, which in The West are called "capital vices." In short, it is a book that presents the virtue of temperance in an attractive way. It is undoubtedly a work that facilitates self-knowledge in relation to this virtue and, finally, it does so with a language suitable for the contemporary reader.

Author: Redacción Delibris, Italy
Update on: Jan 2020