||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
Famous Cholerics include St. John the Baptist, St. Paul, and St. Ignatius
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
From "The Four Temperaments," by Rev. Conrad Hock:
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
and self-reliant; tends to take success for granted.
initiative; tends to elation of spirit; seldom gloomy or moody; prefers to
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.
by emotions not freely or spontaneously expressed, except anger.
Makes best appearance
possible; perhaps conceited; may use hypocrisy, deceit, disguise.
The choleric person
is quickly and vehemently excited by any and every influence. Immediately
the reaction sets in and the impression remains a long time.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
To read about the
other 3 personality types, see these pages: