“You wreck my shop and my house and now my heart,
but how can I run from what gives me life?
I’m weary of personal worrying, in love
with the art of madness! Tear open my shame
and show the mystery. How much longer
do I have to fret with self-restraint and fear?
Friends, this is how it is: we are fringe
sewn inside the lining of a robe. Soon
we’ll be loosened, the binding threads torn
out. The beloved is a lion. We’re
the lame deer in his paws. Consider
what choices we have!”
“the eye sees a shadow and declares it to be without movement;
or as a star, and deems it no longer than a piece of gold.
If the senses thus deceives may not the mind do likewise?”
“The temperaments . . . isn’t that sort of like Catholic astrology?”
This kind of question often surfaces when either of us gives a
talk on the four classic temperaments. Yet the concept of temperament is neither pop psychology nor self-help gimmick; in fact, it
has a long and venerable tradition within Catholic spirituality and
moral theology. Many great spiritual writers — such as St. Francis de Sales, the Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey, and contempo-
rary theologian Jordan Aumann, O.P. — discuss the concept of temperament and how if affects the spiritual life.
“… is a metapattern,
a pattern of patterns.
More often than not, we fail to see it.
With the exception of music we have been trained to think of patterns a
fixed affairs. The truth is that the right way to begin to think about
the pattern which connects is as a dance of interacting parts,
secondarily pegged down by various sorts of physical limits and by habits,
and by the naming of states and component entities.
A dance of interacting parts, The pattem that connects…”