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What are the passions?
"The passions are the feelings, the emotions or the movement of the sensible appetite--natural components of human psychology--which incline a person to act or not act in view of what is perceived as good or evil. The principle passions are love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness, and anger."
(Compendium CCC, 370. Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006) The Compendioum's source on this topic is the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Yesterday I sat in my walk-in closet, where I prefer to be still and know that God is God. These sacred meetings began over a decade ago when I was in the thick of counseling for survivors of child sexual abuse. The closet was where I hid as a little girl. It was the safest place I knew of to seek God, whom I was unsure of at the time. Would He faithfully meet me there? Fully embrace my fragmented heart--jagged edges and all? Yes. And yes. To this very day. Which is why I met Him there yesterday.
With all the uncertainty in my life these days, I can be certain He is with me. He is for me. And He loves me.
I've been pondering Matthew 11:29. "Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
How, exactly, do I do this Lord? How will I recognize it?
Well, it accidentally happened in my closet yesterday. I showed up with my burdens, which is to say I confessed my fears: Am I crazy to blog about an STD screening? Will the biopsy I had on my face last week reveal skin cancer? Do I need two root canals when I don't have dental insurance?
On the heels of my spiel, I sat. In stillness and in quiet--according to Isaiah 30:15. Right about that time, my yellow Lab, Hannah, pushed the door open, licked me right in the face, and nestled up beside me.
So there we were. Me and my Best-ie (who follows me everywhere), "returning to the Lord." I look up, past the rows of clothing and toward heaven. Gradually, I'm lost to a deep sense of gratitude. The weight of every circumstance I schlepped into my closet, lifts. Miraculously, I'm a child in her closet, with her dog, and her Savior. Child-like faith makes a way. Peace passes mightily through a simple and steady stream of honest seeking.
I didn't leave my closet with practical answers to adult questions, but rather, with the assurance of His love for me. A deep knowing that He is for me and not against me. (Even on the days when I'm against myself.)
The word of God doesn't promise we will be without trials. It doesn't promise we will not suffer. The promise is His presence in all circumstances. When we allow Him to carry the weight/burden of harsh circumstances that may or may not change anytime soon, we are humbly and gently supplied with a peace that surpasses all understanding.
This doesn't mean we won't have difficult decisions to make and not know what to do. When we lack wisdom, we are to "ask our generous God, and He will give it to us" (James 1:5). It doesn't mean we shouldn't explore our options before making a decision: Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22).
It simply means, we can trust that He is who He says He is: Immanuel, which means, God with us.
When's the last time you entered into His presence, presented your spiel of worries, and stuck around to sit in stillness and in quiet?
If you're in a place where you have a lot to say to God, say it, sister. But stick around. What He has to say to you will set you free. And He always begins with, "I love you."
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 @ 11:53 AM CDT