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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.
Part 2 of All I Want For Christmas Is Revenge
[Blog category: Revenge]
- We cannot overcome what we deny.
- Healing begins with honest confession.
The desire for revenge seeks expression. When this desire goes unidentified or unconfessed, it gains momentum until it is fulfilled by the enemy in ways that bring destruction: Lashing our verbally/physically in an attempt to punish and/or create feelings of remorse in another person.
If you read my blog regualary, most likely you've suffered abuse/or traumatic betrayal. You don't deserve the destruction darkness is hell-bent on bringing. So bring it into the Light. "With you O Lord, is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light" (John 10:10).
The HOW to Your NOW
What is a woman to do we with a desire that is rarely overcome in a single-prayer filled bound? How can she submit her desire for revenge to Light?
It begins with validation. God knows what's happened to you, and He cares. This Advent season when hearts are focused on the coming Christ, let's also welcome His presence in the desires of our souls. And trust that if in the midst of multi-colored lights we only see RED, Jesus will meet us right where we are. He desires to love us away from the path of destruction and toward one that is life-giving. This calls for honest communiation--Old Testament style, like in Psalm 55, when King David discovered his best friend was not a friend after all.
King David to God: "For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintacne. We took sweet counsel together and walked to the house of God in the throng."
Next, he tells God how he really feels.
"Let death seize them; let them go down alive into hell for wickedness is in their dwellings and among them."
Wow. Who knew the angry retort "go to hell" originated with a man desribed in Sacred Scripture as "a man after God's own heart." Oh, to be human after-all. Turns out, the saving grace is that it was not David's only desire.
"As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, for there were many against me."
What I love so much about this story is that he opened his heart to God. Not everything in King David's heart was clean and pretty. But some of it was. The point is, he confessed it all.
It hurts to be betrayed by someone with whom we share no personal attachments, but a close friend is another matter altogether. It's particulary painful--painful enough to spark a desire for revenge. He was only human-after all, and so are we.
Notice that He cried out in the evening, morning, and at noon. He had mulitple conversations with God about the betrayal he'd endured and confessed even the darkest of his soul's desires. (Clearly, passions are high when you ask God to burn your enemies alive.) He didn't merely want them to die. He wanted them to suffer intense pain unto their last breath. But always, always, he acknoweldges the goodness of God in his prayers.
What can we learn from this? Even for a king, forgiveness takes time. And now is as good a time as any to say, time takes time, too.
"Although the psalmist requests some due punishment for his enemies his tone is one of deference to God, who is always just." (This theological commentary is a winning combination that's served me well over the years.) And I am no theologian! (ref. CCC 271, 1991)
I encourage you to mediate on this concept. Talk to God. Journal your thoughts if you're uncomfortable speaking aloud to Him. In Part 3, I'll reveal a seemingly endless stretch of time where the desire for revenge burned so hot it's a wonder I didn't spontaneously combust. AND more importantly, show you how I submitted my desire for reveng to Christ.
We get better together!
Published on Thursday, January 17, 2019 @ 9:06 AM CDT