Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Passions

The word passion has changed in meaning. It is now a positive word. If you are passionate about your profession you attack it with gusto. Passion can summon up the tango, steamy tropical nights, hot blooded lovers, Italian divas singing opera and on and on. Once however it had negative connotations. The passions were things in your head and heart that you struggled against. To the writers of early Christian works the passions were what kept you from living a holy and God centred life.
All who want to follow God seriously will probably be up against the 'passions' they suggested.

..those who are beginning the life of holiness should try to hinder the activity of the passions. At this stage they are still driven frantic by the pleasures that accompany the passions.. The Philokalia

So if like everyone who is trying to serve God you are being distracted by anger, lust, envy, avarice how do we deal with it? To try and suppress the passions is not the way. Like water in a shoe- it will find a way out somehow. The 'trick' the same writer of the above suggests is to have an opposing passion- the love of God and His wisdom. When you burn yourself you are so taken up by the pain of the burn your mind is concentrated on this to the exclusion of everything else. Replace the burning pain with the fire of God in your heart!

Thus opposing passions are mutually exclusive and will never unite the Philokalia continues.

Recentering your passions will probably not happen overnight. God perhaps will want to know you mean business first.
It is good to know there is a game plan though. Go well.

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