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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.
A friend of mine is trudging through the devastating effects of infidelity. I've been there. It's a difficult and painful process. Some spouses forgive immediately. It is possible, but I don't personally know anyone who has, and God knows I didn't. Thankfully, Christ's strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Even when marriage partners decide to work it out and stay together, it's tempting to give up during moments of despair. And I'll be honest, there will be moments of despair.
If you can relate, let me first say, "I'm so very sorry for what you're going through." If you and your spouse have decided to work it out, I encourage you to down shift and accept the fact that healing takes time--and lots of it. There will be moments when one of you is "up" and the other "down." Days when you're both optimistic and convinced you're finally "over it," followed by weeks when you're both down and one of you is convinced that the only way to restore your soul is to bury your spouse in the backyard while you can still plead insanity!
Through it all, the Creator of the universe hovers over the darkness . . . waiting for you to confess everything you think and feel. Waiting for an invitation into the mess in your hearts and in your home. Humble confessions are the mark of authentic healing. And healing of this sort takes time.
"It takes time" is difficult to hear when all in the world you want to feel is better. You'll get there a lot quicker if you don't tell yourself that good Christians shouldn't have destructive, angry thoughts. The truth is, we're not to meditate on angry thoughts.
2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to "take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ." That's why it's so important to talk to God about everything.
The enemy wants us to believe that the thoughts he interjects rise from within our spirit. This is how he sets up road blocks to confession. He knows we cannot heal from what we attempt to guard or heal in our own strength.
My friend tells me everything. "This is how I feel. This is what I think. These are the conflicting and stinging thoughts that swarm me like bees. I want my marriage to heal. I hate my spouse, I want a divorce!"
One day I asked her, "Do you talk to God the way you talk to me?"
"I can't! I'm not supposed to have these thoughts, I'm a Christian. I'm supposed to forgive. I just keep asking God to heal my marriage."
"I see. But you do have these thoughts.Who cares whether or not you should. Stop showing up for prayer, dressed in your "emotional Sunday best." Confess your thoughts and sinful re-actions to the wounds of infidelity. Christ will forgive you, and that will pave the way for more healing and forgiveness than you can imagine.
Go cry the ugly cry. Confess the ugly circumstances, the ugly thoughts, and the ugly reactions--in the event that you've lost your temper, broken objects you wish you hadn't, or let a few F-bombs fly. I've been there and done it all. (Trust me, it only makes a bad situation worse.)
Practical solution: Show up before God and tell the truth-- again and again. Every time "ugly" rises, bow and confess at the feet of Beauty. We cannot overcome what we deny." Counseling is a good idea, but couple it with intimate confession, or you'll run the risk of inching Christ right out of your Christian counseling.
For how long? For as long as it takes. Confession bridges the gap between the Christian commandment to forgive and your very human, very instinctual desire for apology, restitution, and revenge.
"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." (Psalm 34:18 NKJV).
Prayer: May the saving strength of Your right hand guide us through this journey. In Jesus' name, Amen.
What's happened to you matters to God.
We get better together,
(from my archives)
Published on Sunday, September 29, 2019 @ 8:26 AM CDT