Concupiscible Passions – Part 1 of 2

Father Geiermann discusses the six concupiscible passions: love and hatred, desire and aversion, joy and sadness.

“As a passion love is complacency in what is pleasing to the senses. It prompts us to seek whatever is agreeable to the senses, to possess it, to enjoy it, and to make ourselves secure in its possession and fruition. To subjugate this carnal love we must (1) turn it from sinful objects; (2) moderate it by the virtue of temperance; (3) center our affections more and more in God; (4) practise a holy indifference to earthly things; and (5) guard against excessive attachment to relatives and friends.”

Hatred is a natural repugnance for everything disagreeable to the senses. As children of God we may hate only what is absolutely evil. . . . To conquer our repugnance for other things we should (1) watch over our antipathies, lest they develop into passion; (2) guard against blind zeal which might lead us to offend against charity by unjust criticism; (3) beware of discord in matters of mere opinion; (4) cure hatred by the antidote of Christian charity.”

“The passion of desire is a longing of the sensitive appetite for an obtainable good. It may be kept in subjection (1) by having but few material wants; (2) by not desiring these inordinately; (3) by turning our desires to virtuous objects; and (4) especially by moderating them according to the will of God in all things. In fact, the more we seek the will of God in all things, the easier will we dispel the countless vain fears that disquiet the human heart and fill it with disappointment. ‘Cast thy care upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee’ (Ps 54:23).”

Aversion is the turning away of the sensitive appetite from whatever is repugnant to the senses. Christians should school themselves to turn instinctively from sin and its occasions and dangers, but courageously embrace whatever is good for their souls, no matter how repugnant it may be to human nature.”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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