Virtue of Temperance - Venial sin

Can one know for a *fact * that what he or she is doing at that particular moment is temperate? This is in reference to all goods and activities that are objectively moral when used/done in moderation, i.e., food, drink, clothing, napping, watching t.v., etc. Are there any queues that one would experience that would indicate that the consumption has become sinful? Obviously, having a huge hangover resulting from partying the previous night would be an indicator that the person had had too many drinks and, thus, likely sinful. Please note that I am primarily interested in venial sin. I am interested in the subtle differences in sin verses moderation.

Thanks for your help.


yes…via the virtue’s of temperance and prudence.

in time…such can become more and more connatural …second nature.

Thus just as it can be said “a chaste man judges chastely” (connaturally via the virtue) so to I think one can say a temperant man judges temperantly.

Though temperance such can also be one of the more difficult virtues in such matters of food…


Thanks for your response. So, I don’t suppose there are any hard and fast rules for temperance? I always wonder whether I’m overdoing my intake in cookies and other creature comforts. I pray for discernment but I haven’t received a clear answer from the Lord. When I compare myself to the saints, I am woefully indulgent. I am tempted to feel discouraged when I make the comparison to the saints and wonder if I will be in purgatory for a long time because of my attachments to these things. With all this in mind, however, I trust that God will see me through this. He has delivered me before and I am confident that He will do so again in my current struggle.

Thanks again,


One can do little mortifications…give something up here and there…such is one way to increase in temperance…we can seek to grow in the various virtues and mortification (within reason)… (And of course eat within health…)

This can be a common difficulty…as St. Augustine wrote in his Confessions:

And who, O Lord, is he who is not in some degree carried away beyond the bounds of necessity?

of course we need to seek to live by temperance…and avoid sin…but realize in humility that this can be a difficult area…

Thanks for the advice. I will try to do little mortifications. I try from time to time but my mortifications are really very, very little!:smiley:

And seek to make a prudent judgment of what would be within reason…what would be temperent here and now…

(and within your health needs…obviously if your doctor tells you you need to loose 10 lbs…work on that)

also of course temperence may look different at a Christmas party than at lunch…

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