From Chapter 1 of Saint Josemaría Escrivá’s book The Way: Character


Serenity. Why lose your temper if by doing so you offend God, annoy other people, upset yourself… and have to find it again in the end?


The first definition of the word “temper” as a noun says it is “a suitable proportion or balance of qualities: a middle state between extremes.” 

The third definition is “a characteristic cast of mind or state of feeling: a disposition.”

I looked up the word because of what Escrivá wrote above. I had always heard that so-and-so lost his/her temper. But never before I had heard that they found it again afterwards.

So I got to thinking about what a temper really is. It’s not the action of having a fit or going off into a rage. Those are the results of losing something that had been keeping the balance.

So what was lost? Serenity, or that state of being serene: clear and free of storms or unpleasant change.

In other words we lose our balance and then our temper. It is when we are in this state of unbalance that we lose our inhibition and may say or do something that offends a friend or a stranger.

A friend or stranger made in the likeness and image of God.

And so we not just offend a fellow human being, but God.

Maintain your balance.