Enjoying Better

How do we avoid clutching or condemning beauty and its pleasures? By cultivating the virtue of temperance with spiritual practices of fasting, frugality, silence, etc. As we work these practices of abstinence into our mind and muscle, Christ teaches us how to pursue the beautiful without being pained by it. And He goes even further than that. For “Temperance,” wrote André Comte-Sponville, “is not about enjoying less but about enjoying better.” And this is what we so easily forget. When our desires are tempered, they’re free, and when they’re free, the pleasure is resurrected into something greater, something even more pleasurable, more pleasing, more fulfilling. It’s a magnificent truth, Comte-Sponsville continues, “Pleasures are purer for being freer, more joyful for being mastered, more serene for being less needy.”