You are a "bilious" Choleric, with an abundance of yellow bile (believed to have originated in the kidneys). Cholerics are characterized by the element of Fire, the season of Summer, early adulthood, the color fiery red, Mars, and the characteristics of "Hot" and "Dry." The animal used to symbolize the Choleric is the lion. To ehnance your Choleric tendencies, listen to music in the Phrygian Mode; to diminish those tendencies, listen to music in the Hypophrygian mode.
Famous Cholerics include St. John the Baptist, St. Paul, and St. Ignatius of Loyola.
If you were living in the Age of Faith, perfect career choices for you would be Crusader (leader of the Crusades, of course), the knighthood, King, mayor, head of a guild, founder of a new religious order, or housewife or father with a well-organized, well-behaved brood, each of whom you expect to excel.
From "The Four Temperaments," by Rev. Conrad Hock:
- Is self-composed; seldom shows embarrassment, is forward or bold.
- Is eager to express himself before a group if he has some purpose in view.
- Is insistent upon the acceptance of his ideas or plans; argumentative and persuasive.
- Is impetuous and impulsive; plunges into situations where forethought would have deterred him.
- Is self-confident and self-reliant; tends to take success for granted.
- Exhibits strong initiative; tends to elation of spirit; seldom gloomy or moody; prefers to lead.
- Is very sensitive and easily hurt; reacts strongly to praise or blame.
- Is not given to worry or anxiety. Seclusive.
- Is quick and decisive in movement; pronounced or excessive energy output.
- Is marked tendency to persevere; does not abandon something readily regardless of success.
- Is characterized by emotions not freely or spontaneously expressed, except anger.
- Makes best appearance possible; perhaps conceited; may use hypocrisy, deceit, disguise.
The choleric man is a man of enthusiasm; he is not satisfied with the ordinary, but aspires after great and lofty things. He craves for great success in temporal affairs; he seeks large fortunes, a vast business, an elegant home, a distinguished reputation or a predominant position. He aspires to the highest also in matters spiritual; he is swayed with a consuming fire for holiness; he is filled with a yearning desire to make great sacrifices for God and his neighbor, to lead many souls to heaven.
The natural virtue of the choleric is ambition; his desire to excel and succeed despises the little and vulgar, and aspires to the noble and heroic. In his aspiration for great things the choleric is supported by:
1. A keen intellect. The choleric person is not always, but usually endowed with considerable intelligence. He is a man of reason while his imagination and his emotions are poor and stunted.
It is said that Julius Caesar was able to dictate different letters to several secretaries at the same time without losing the line of thought for each dictation.
2. A strong will. He is not frightened by difficulties, but in case of obstacles shows his energy so much the more and perseveres also under great difficulties until he has reached his goal. Pusillanimity or despondency the choleric does not know.
Hamilcar of Carthage in North Africa took his son Hannibal to the altar of their god and made him swear eternal hatred for Rome, their implacable enemy. Later, Hannibal assembled a complete army and elephants and led them through Spain, over the Pyrenees, through Southern France and over the Alps into Italy, a feat never equaled before or after, and came very close to conquering and destroying Rome.
3. Strong passions. The choleric is very passionate. Whenever the choleric is bent upon carrying out his plans or finds opposition, he is filled with passionate excitement. All dictators, old and new, are proof of this statement.
4. An often times subconscious impulse to dominate others and make them subservient. The choleric is made to rule. He feels happy when he is in a position to command, to draw others to him, and to organize large groups.
A very great impediment for the choleric in his yearning for great things is his imprudent haste. The choleric is immediately and totally absorbed by the aim he has in mind and rushes for his goal with great haste and impetuosity; he considers but too little whether he can really reach his goal.
A high Nazi official told a former chum, (later a priest): "We cannot back out; we have gone too far."
He sees only one road, the one he in his impetuosity has taken without sufficient consideration, and he does not notice that by another road he could reach his goal more easily. If great obstacles meet him he, because of his pride, can hardly make up his mind to turn back, but instead he continues with great obstinacy on the original course. He dashes his head against the wall rather than take notice of the door which is right near and wide open. By this imprudence the choleric wastes a great deal of his energy which could be used to better advantage, and he disgusts his friends, so that finally he stands almost alone and is disliked by most people. He deprives himself of his best successes, even though he will not admit that he himself is the main cause of his failures. He shows the same imprudence in selecting the means for the pursuit of perfection, so that in spite of great efforts he does not acquire it. The choleric can safeguard himself from this danger only by willing and humble submission to a spiritual director.
II DARK SIDES OF THE CHOLERIC TEMPERAMENT
Pride which shows itself in the following instances:
a) The choleric is full of himself. He has a great opinion of his good qualities and his successful work and considers himself as something extraordinary and as one called upon to perform great feats. He considers even his very defects as being justified, nay, as something great and worthy of praise; for instance, his pride, his obstinacy, his anger.
The Italian dictator Mussolini had himself called 'II Duce,' the Leader. Adolf Hitler followed his example by assuming the title: 'Der Fuehrer,' The Leader.
b) The choleric is very stubborn and opinionated. He thinks he is always right, wants to have the last word, tolerates no contradiction, and is never willing to give in.
The Russian dictator Stalin brooked no opposition. A friend of his, during a drinking bout, voiced his disagreement with Stalin's opinion. Fearing for his safety some of his friends approached Stalin the next day to excuse their friend on the ground of having been drunk. Stalin coolly told them that their intervention came too late.
c) The choleric has a great deal of self-confidence. He relies too much upon his own knowledge and ability. He refuses the help of others and prefers to work alone, partly because he does not like to ask for help, partly because he believes that he is himself more capable than others and is sure to succeed without the help of others.
Hitler relied on his 'hunches' in his war against Russia despite the advice of his generals, convinced that he knew better. He lost the war and everything.
It is not easy to convince the choleric that he is in need of God's help even in little things. Therefore he dislikes to ask God's help and prefers to combat even strong temptations by his own strength. Because of this self-confidence in spiritual life the choleric often falls into many and grievous sins. This trait is one of the main reasons why so many cholerics do not acquire sanctity in spite of great efforts. They are infected to a great extent with the pride of Lucifer. They act as if perfection and Heaven were not in the first place due to grace but to their own efforts.
d) The choleric despises his fellow man. To his mind others are ignorant, weak, unskilled, slow, at least when compared with himself. He shows his contempt of his neighbor by despising, mocking, making belittling remarks about others and by his proud behavior toward those around him, especially toward his subjects.
A Russian general, asked what he would do if his soldiers came to a mine field, responded that he would order a company of soldiers across it. The fact that he would sacrifice the lives of these soldiers meant nothing to him. (General Eisenhower).
e) The choleric is domineering and inordinately ambitious. He wants to hold the first place, to be admired by others, to subject others to himself. He belittles, combats, even persecutes by unfair means those who dare to oppose his ambition.
Julius Caesar said that he would rather be the first in the smallest Alpine village than the second in Rome.
Alexander the Great, considered one of the greatest generals of all time, was found by a friend of his one clear night looking at the stars and weeping. Asked why he wept he said: "See those thousands of stars in the sky to be conquered, and I cannot even conquer this world of ours."
f) The choleric feels deeply hurt when he is humiliated or put to shame. Even the recollection of his sins fills him with great displeasure because these sins give him a lower opinion of himself. In his disgust over his sins he may even defy God Himself.
2. Anger. The choleric is vehemently excited by contradiction, resistance, and personal offenses. This excitement manifests itself in harsh words which may seem very decent and polite as far as phrasing is concerned, but hurt to the core by the tone in which they are spoken. Nobody can hurt his fellow man with a few words more bitterly than a choleric person. Things are made even worse by the fact that the choleric in his angry impetuosity makes false and exaggerated reproaches, and may go so far in his passion, as to misconstrue the intentions and to pervert the words of those who irritated him, thus, blaming with the sharpest of expressions, faults which in reality were not committed at all. By such injustice, which the choleric inflicts in his anger upon his neighbor he can offend and alienate even his best friends.
The choleric may even indulge in furious outbursts of anger. His anger easily degenerates into hatred. Grievous offenses he cannot forget. In his anger and pride he permits himself to be drawn to actions which he knows will be very detrimental to himself and to others; for instance, ruin of his health, his work, his fortune, loss of his position, and complete rupture with intimate friends. By reason of his pride and anger he may totally ignore and cast aside the very plans for the realization of which he has worked for years.
P. Schram says: "The choleric prefers to die rather than to humble himself."
3. Deceit, disguise and hypocrisy. As noble and magnanimous as the choleric is by nature, the tendency to pride and self-will may lead him to the lowest of vices, deceit and hypocrisy. He practices deceit, because he is in no way willing to concede that he succumbed to a weakness and suffered a defeat. He uses hypocrisy, deception, and even outright lies, if he realises that he cannot carry out his plans by force.
For the true Communist everything that will help his cause is right and just: he makes and breaks treaties and promises; robbery and lies and murder are considered justified if done for the Party and the Cause, without consideration of the cost in human suffering.
4. Lack of sympathy. The choleric, as said above, is a man of reason. He has two heads but no heart.
Wars, torture, concentration camps, the death of millions of people meant nothing to modern dictators like Lenin, Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse Tung, and their like.
This lack of human sentiment and sympathy is, in a way, of great advantage to him. He does not find it hard to be deprived of sensible consolations in prayer and to remain a long time in spiritual aridity. Effeminate, sentimental dispositions are repugnant to him; he hates the caresses and sentimentality which arise between intimate friends. False sympathy cannot influence him to neglect his duties or abandon his principles. On the other hand, this lack of sympathy has its great disadvantages. The choleric can be extremely hard, heartless, even cruel in regard to the sufferings of others. He can cold-bloodedly trample upon the welfare of others, if he cannot otherwise reach his goal. Choleric superiors should examine their conscience daily, to discover whether they have not shown. a lack of sympathy toward their subjects, especially if these are sickly, less talented, fatigued, or elderly.
III BRIGHT SIDE OF THE CHOLERIC
If the choleric develops his faculties and uses them for good and noble purposes, he may do great things for the honor of God, for the benefit of his fellow men, and for his own temporal and eternal welfare. He is assisted by his sharp intellect, his enthusiasm for the noble and the great, the force and resolution of his will, which shrinks before no difficulty, and the keen vivacity which influences all his thoughts and plans.
Saul, the persecutor of the infant Church, became Paul, the great Apostle who, as he himself said, did more than any other apostle for the spread of Christianity. He made himself "all things to all men that I might save all." (1. Cor. 9:22.) He suffered all kinds of trials and persecution (see 2 Cor. ch. 12) in order to preach Christ, and Him Crucified, and sealed his mission by his martyrdom for the Gospel.
Many Saints, men and women, have done likewise, dedicating their unremitting labor and intense sufferings under severe persecutions to the service of Christ, as is proved by the thousands and thousands of martyrs of years past and of the present, outstanding among them Joseph Cardinal Mindszenty of Hungary.
The choleric may with comparative ease become a saint. The persons canonized, with few exceptions, were choleric or melancholic. The choleric who is able to control his temperament is recollected in prayer, because by his strong will he can banish distractions and especially because by force of his nature, he can with great facility concentrate his attention upon one point. The latter may also be the cause, why the choleric so easily acquires the prayer of simplicity, or as St. Francis calls it, the prayer of recollection. With no other temperament do we find the spirit of contemplation, properly so called, as often as with the choleric. The well-trained choleric is very patient and firm in endurance of physical pains, willing to make sacrifices in sufferings, persevering in acts of penance and interior mortification, magnanimous and noble toward the indigent and conquered, full of aversion against everything ignoble or vulgar. Although pride penetrates the very soul of the choleric in all its fibers and ramifications, so much so that he seems to have only one vice, i.e., pride, which he shows in everything he undertakes, he can, nevertheless, if he earnestly aspires for perfection, easily bear the greatest and most degrading humiliations and even seek them. Because the choleric has not a soft but a hard heart, he naturally suffers less from temptation of the flesh and can practice purity with ease. But, if the choleric is voluntarily addicted to the vice of impurity and seeks his satisfaction therein, the outbursts of his passion are terrible and most abominable.
The choleric is very successful also in his professional work. Being of an active temperament, he feels a continual inclination to activity and occupation. He cannot be without work, and he works quickly and diligently. In his enterprises he is persevering and full of courage in spite of obstacles. Without hesitation he can be placed at difficult posts and everything can be entrusted to him. In his speech the choleric is brief and definite; he abhors useless repetitions. This brevity, positiveness, firmness in speech and appearance gives him a great deal of authority especially when engaged in educational work. Choleric teachers have something virile about themselves and do not allow affairs to get beyond their control, as is often the case with slow, irresolute, melancholic persons. A choleric can keep a secret like a grave.
IV THINGS TO BE OBSERVED BY THE CHOLERIC IN HIS TRAINING
1. A choleric needs high ideals and great thoughts; he must draw them from the word of God by meditation, spiritual reading, sermons, and also from the experience of his own life. There is no need of a multiplicity of such thoughts. For the choleric St. Ignatius it was sufficient to think: All for the greater glory of God; for the choleric St. Francis Xavier: What does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his soul? One good thought which deeply impresses the choleric acts as a miraculous star which leads him, in spite of all obstacles, to the feet of the Redeemer.
2. A choleric must learn day by day and repeatedly to implore God fervently and humbly for His assistance. As long as he has not learned to beg he will not make big strides on the road to perfection. To him also apply the words of Christ: "Ask and you shall receive." The choleric will make still greater progress if he can humble himself to ask his fellow men, at least his superiors, or his confessor, for instructions and direction.
3. The choleric must above all keep one strong resolution in his mind: I will never seek myself, but on the contrary I will consider myself:
a) An instrument in the hands of God, which He may make use of at His pleasure.
b) A servant of my fellow men, who desires to spend himself for others. He must act according to the words of Christ: "Whosoever will be first among you, shall be the servant of all", (Matt 20:27 or Mark 10:44), or as St. Paul says of himself: He must become all things to all men, in order to save them. (1 Cor. 9:22).
4. The choleric must combat his pride and anger continually. Pride is the misfortune of the choleric, humility his only salvation. Therefore he should make it a point of his particular examination of conscience for years.
5. The choleric must humiliate himself voluntarily in confession, before his superiors, and even before others. Ask God for humiliations and accept them, when inflicted, magnanimously. For a choleric it is better to permit others to humiliate him, than to humiliate himself.
6. He must practice a true and trusting devotion to the humble and meek Heart of Jesus.
V SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS IN THE TRAINING AND TREATMENT OF THE CHOLERIC
Cholerics are capable of great benefit to their family, their surroundings, their parish, or to the state on account of their ability. The choleric is naturally the born and never discouraged leader and organizer. The well-trained choleric apostle indefatigably and without fear seeks souls who are in danger; propagates good literature perseveringly, and in spite of many failures labors joyfully for the Catholic press and societies and consequently is of great service to the Church. On the other hand, the choleric can, if he does not control the weak side of his temperament, act as dynamite in private and public and cause great disturbance. For this reason it is necessary to pay special attention to the training of the choleric, which is difficult but fruitful.
1. The choleric should be well instructed so that he can apply his good talents to the best advantage. Otherwise he will in the course of time pursue pet ideas to the neglect, of his professional work, or what is worse, he will be very proud and conceited, although in reality he has not cultivated his faculties and is not, in fact, thorough.
Cholerics who are less talented or not sufficiently educated can make very many mistakes, once they are independent or have power to command as superiors. They are likely to make life bitter for those around them, because they insist stubbornly upon the fulfillment of their orders, although they may not fully understand the affairs in question or may have altogether false ideas about them. Such cholerics often act according to the ill-famed motto: Sic volo, sic jubeo; stat pro ratione voluntas: Thus I want it, thus I command it; my will is sufficient reason.
2. The choleric must be influenced to accept voluntarily and gladly what is done for the humiliation of his pride and the soothing of his anger. By hard, proud treatment the choleric is not improved, but embittered and hardened, whereas even a very proud choleric can easily be influenced to good by reasonable suggestions and supernatural motives. In the training of cholerics the teacher should never allow himself to be carried away by anger nor should he ever give expression to the determination to 'break' the obstinacy of the choleric person. It is absolutely necessary to remain calm and to allow the choleric to 'cool off' and then to persuade him to accept guidance in order to correct his faults and bring out the good in him. In the training of the choleric child one must place high ideas before him; appeal to his good will, his sense of honor, his abhorrence of the vulgar, his temporal and eternal welfare; influence him voluntarily to correct his faults and develop his good qualities. Do not embitter him by humiliating penances, but try to show him the necessity and justice of the punishment inflicted; yet be firm in what you must demand.