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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.
There was a time in my life when I could only focus on the person who hurt me. In 2000, that person was my drug-addicted husband, Michael. We had just separated and I struggled to raise a baby and two school-aged sons on my own. If I wasn't talking about him, I was thinking about him. I had a sponsor at the time who would say, "Wendy, Michael takes up so much space in your head you should collect rent!"
She always got straight to the point. I loved her boldness, though it infuriated me at times (mostly because she was right). She allowed me to whine about Michael for fifteen minutes before she'd stop me and say, "We can talk about Michael all day but it won't get you any closer to the truth or the solution."
She knew the solution would come when I asked God to reveal more of Himself as I practiced keeping my eyes on my own life. It was a hard truth in the beginning. My husband's choices were much more destructive than mine and I knew, just knew, that if he would listen to me he would see the error of his ways, clean up, and rejoin our family. But it didn't happen that way.
My circumstances didn't shift until I determined to focus on God and my own life. As they say in twelve-step programs: Keep your side of the street clean. He continued to use drugs. I continued to ask God to reveal more of Himself to me. And He faithfully began to heal me from the inside out. I slowly gained freedom from co-dependancy. And when that happened, my husband received eyes to see his destructive behavior. Why? Because when I stopped acting like a crazy person his own crazy behavior became obvious to him.
I learned that when one crazy person accuses another crazy person of being crazy no one gets better. No one gets better because no one is focused on the solution. But it only takes one redeemed person to change the atmosphere in a home. So take God's hand and start with yourself. That is the solution. Simple, yet not easy. I'm here to support you in the process.
Where is your focus? Are you caught up in the mental gymnastics of meditating on another person's destructive behavior? Are you willing to humbly ask God to reveal Himself to you?
"And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the speck in your own?" (Matthew 7:3)
When we listen to what God has to say about our own hearts and do what He says even when it's hard, we find freedom. "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." (John 8:32 NKJV)
Published on Saturday, August 4, 2012 @ 7:28 AM CDT