Loading

What’s your Lenten temperament?

Laraine Bennett

Photo Credit: Mazur

We are not yet half way through Lent, so it’s a good time to take stock. Don’t be discouraged: it’s not too late to get back on track!

Lent is made for melancholics. Melancholics take a peculiar kind of pleasure in difficult Lenten sacrifices. My husband, for example, gave up coffee for many Lents. It was a real cross for all of us. He would be cranky, tired, and (like Dory the forgetful fish in “Finding Nemo”) never remembered why he always felt as though he were coming down with the flu the first few days of Lent.

I finally convinced him to consume at least some caffeine in the form of tea. But that small concession grated against his purist philosophy of Lent. Melancholics relish the challenge of 40 days, they wear their ashes proudly on Ash Wednesday and embrace the penitential season. They would wear sackcloth if they could.

If they accidentally eat a small bite of meat on Friday, they will take themselves severely to task and then immediately go to Confession. They don’t believe in taking Sundays and feast days off. More mortification! Long suffering! That’s the spirit!

Sanguines like to remind their melancholic friends that Lent does not include Sundays and there are important feast days that offer respite to Lenten mortifications: St. Patrick’s Day, St. Joseph’s and, of course, the Annunciation. If the Annunciation falls on a Friday in Lent, the sanguine will remind everyone that it’s not only permissible to eat meat, it is a required day of feasting and rejoicing!

Sanguines often struggle to maintain consistency throughout Lent. One sanguine I know chose a different sacrifice each week. That was an achievable goal, as opposed to giving up sweets for the entire 40 days.

Pope John Paul the First described the choleric as one who, upon seeing a sheer cliff, would pronounce: “A cliff like this is made to be overcome!” and then would attack it like his mortal enemy. This is how the choleric attacks Lent, too. He sets a goal and then ferociously charges up that cliff. If he doesn’t reach the summit, he won’t waste any time beating himself up about it. There are other mountains to conquer!

The phlegmatic takes his time when choosing a Lenten sacrifice. He wants to be sure it’s something he can accomplish – it’s neither too drastic nor too easy, it reflects the proper spirit of Lent and will not inconvenience anyone else in his family or at work.

On second thought, perhaps instead of giving something up, he muses to himself, he should do something positive and charitable. He then ponders what that might be: not something too drastic, certainly nothing showy or flashy, yet something beneficial that will properly manifest the Lenten spirit. If, by this time, Lent is not over, the phlegmatic will ploddingly and steadfastly work to achieve his Lenten goal.

During Lent we call to mind the 40 years the Israelites wandered the desert, totally dependent on the mercy and grace of God. We meditate on the 40 days and 40 nights Jesus spent in prayer and fasting in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he tells each of us, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Whatever our temperament, Lent is a beautiful time of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, leaving the attachments of this world so that we might grow closer to Christ.

It’s not too late to begin anew.

This article originally appeared on Catholic Match.com, which is a part of the 4marks Network. 4marks offers a variety of online services to Catholics, including our Temperament Test, single Catholic service and Trivia. To learn more about any of our services or how 4marks is helping Catholics connect online in order to deepen their faith offline visit www.4marks.com.

Topics: Lent & Easter , Personal Growth , Relationships

Laraine Bennett co-authored, with her husband Art, The Temperament God Gave Your Spouse and The Temperament God Gave You, published by Sophia Institute Press. Their new book, The Emotions God Gave You, is due Spring 2011. Please visit their website at http://temperaments.sophiainstitute.com/.

View all articles by Laraine Bennett

Ads by Google
(What's this?)

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

RECENT POSTS

OUR TOPICS

Abortion (42)  Advent & Christmas (19)  Beauty (2)  Bioethics (4)  Books (55)  Church history (14)  Church teaching (28)  Contraception (22)  Culture (119)  Current Events (85)  Dating (15)  Death (4)  Depression (14)  Divorce (7)  Education (12)  Eucharist (3)  Exercise (3)  Faith (213)  Family (86)  Fashion (5)  Feminism (12)  Fertility (2)  Fitness (1)  Food (2)  Forgiveness (17)  Friendship (18)  Generosity (2)  Girl Scouts (2)  Grieving (1)  Health (23)  Home Management (17)  Humor (14)  Leadership (4)  Lent & Easter (12)  Liturgical Year (9)  Marian devotion (8)  Marriage (33)  Mature Years (5)  Meditations (17)  Mental illness (1)  Mercy (1)  Military Families (2)  Ministry (4)  Miscarriage (1)  Motherhood (55)  Movies (1)  Music (4)  Natural Family Planning (2)  Nutrition (4)  Parenting (44)  Personal Growth (105)  Politics (3)  Pornography (3)  Prayer (31)  Pro-Life (26)  Psychology (1)  Reflections (4)  Relationships (44)  Religious freedom (10)  Saints (9)  Scripture (6)  Service (8)  Sexuality (18)  Single years (4)  Social justice (1)  Social Networking (5)  Special Needs (3)  Spirituality (2)  Suffering (13)  Suicide (1)  Travel (11)  Welcome (1)  Women in the Church (3)  Women's Health (20)  Workplace (12)  Writings of the Saints (8)  Young Women (39) 

Apr
23

Liturgical Calendar

April 23, 2014

Wednesday within the Octa ve of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Gospel
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:1-10
Gospel:: Lk 24:13-35

Saint of the Day

St. Adalbert of Prague »

Saint
Date
04/21/14
04/20/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:8-15

Homily
Date
04/22/14
04/21/14
04/20/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: