Thought for the Day – 22 March – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Just as every man has his own individual physical characteristics, he also has his own peculiar disposition.
It is our character which distinguishes us and makes us what we are.
Our basic temperament is neither good nor bad in itself.
It is a physical and spiritual disposition which can equally well impel us towards virtue as towards sin.
No two people are exactly alike in character but, it is possible to divide them all into four categories.
It is a rather artificial classification, of course, since everyone shares to a greater or less extent in the attributes proper to each of the categories.
We can broadly distinguish
(1) the sanguine,
(2) the nervous,
(3) the choleric and
(4) the phlegmatic type.
People belong to the first category are jolly folk, lively and intelligent and often impetuous. They are easily incited to begin aiming at a good or a bad objective but usually, they lack constancy and tenacity of purpose. Very often they fling themselves enthusiastically into an enterprise but abandon it for want of perseverance.
In the second category, the nervous system is developed to an exceptionally fine degree, in comparison with the other parts of the human organism. These people are sensitive rather than active. In their stable moments, they can accomplish a great deal in a very short time. But, they are easily discouraged. They are subject to depression and suffer a lot, sometimes purely as the result of a disordered imagination. They need sympathy and understanding.
The choleric characters are impulsive and passionate. They have tremendous strength of will but this needs to be restrained and diverted into the right channels if it is not to overflow into all sorts of excesses.
The phlegmatic, on the other hand, are dull and apathetic by nature. They never hurry. They never get excited. They are cold, calculating and lacking in enthusiasm. But they are masters of themselves and if they are intelligent and capable, they can do a great deal of work with the minimum effort and emerge successfully from the most difficult situations.
It is very helpful for a man to study and become acquainted with his own character, so that he may be able to form it, as he ought.”