What our strongest passion should be PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 24 July 2015 15:16

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

As to what the strongest passion should be, we have to refer ourselves to the greatest commandment God has for us. After all, God is our creator, the designer of our nature, the lawgiver, the beginning and end of our life. He should know what it is.

And this greatest commandment was told to us quite clearly by Christ, the Son of God who became man precisely to reveal what God wants of us. In the gospel of St. Matthew, we read the following:

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with the whole soul, and with whole mind.” (22,37) The reference to the “whole heart,” which is the seat of our feelings and passions, already clarifies the matter. We have to see to it that our heart is burning with love for God. That should be our strongest passion.

We, however have to add that the heart should be united with the soul and the mind. Our heart, which should be burning with love for God, should be vitally united to the soul and the mind that equally should be ardent with love for God as well.

This is again a task that we have to be more conscious of, since that ideal unity among the heart, soul and mind does not come quite spontaneously. Given our weakened nature, wounded by sin, that unity cannot be presumed.

While we individually continue to be one whole person, we are made of different parts. That natural state of ours alone would already require of us a certain effort to build and keep that unity. But with the effects of sin, that effort even has to be intensified, since these parts would be warring among each other.

St. Paul expresses this predicament very well: “I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate…For I am delighted with the law of God, according to the inward man, but I see another law in my members, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me in the law of sin, that is in my members.” (7,15ff)

This is going to be our lifelong lot, our fate in life, which we have to be ready to face and tackle. We should not be afraid of this reality, since the means are actually abundantly available. God’s grace, for one, is never lacking. With the proper disposition, we can always receive and take advantage of them.

Obviously, we have to do our part. We need to pray, make sacrifices, avail of the sacraments, develop the virtues, master the doctrine of our faith, fulfill our daily duties, wage a continuing interior struggle.

We should avoid idleness and laziness, keep distance from occasions that can lead to sin, learn to fight against temptations effectively. We have to fill our mind with good things, ever quick to see Christ in every person, and the hand of God in every situation.

As regards our passions, they obviously need to be properly regulated by our reason and controlled and directed by our will that in their turn should also be vitally connected with God through faith, hope and charity.

That is why in every thought, desire, word and deed that we do, we should strive to have purity of intention, i.e., motivated only by love of God. We have to develop the appropriate skill to do this, since very often we just get too spontaneous without giving due attention to this need to purify our intentions.

The passions just cannot be left on their own, much less be led by the mere impulses of the flesh and worldly values. They are like little children, always immediately charming, very active, if not restless, but needing guidance and direction. We have to teach and train them.

Sometimes, we have to correct and scold them also, since they tend to follow their own dangerous ways. We have to discipline them, otherwise they can lead us to all forms of obsessions, addictions and bondage.

But we should never think that the ideal life for us is when we repress our emotions and passions. Stoicism is not for us. That would be unnatural to us, fraught with many potential dangers that can even cause grave damage to our mind and soul. We should rather see to it that we make full use of our emotions and passions that are properly grounded and oriented.

When our passions are fully and properly used, then we can truly say that we have attained a good level of integrity and wholeness of our being.