Concupiscible Passions – Part 2 of 2

Father Geiermann continues his discussion of the six concupiscible passions by addressing joy and its counterpart, sadness.

“The passion of joy or delight is fruition of something agreeable to the senses. To keep this passion in subjection we must (1) turn with decision from all unlawful enjoyment; (2) use things lawful with moderation; (3) practise voluntary self-denial; (4) aim to content ourselves with what is necessary; (5) not indulge in harmless pleasures unbecoming our station in life.”

“As a passion sadness is an affliction and perturbation of the sensitive appetite caused by a disagreeable impression on the senses. Sadness or sorrow has a depressing effect on the body, and exercises a paralyzing influence on the energies of the soul. By showing us the emptiness of earthly things, they exercise a chastening influence on our lives and dispose us for the grace of God.”

“The natural remedies for sorrow or sadness are: (1) tears, as an outpouring of our sorrow; (2) a busy life to forget it; (3) self-restraint to control it; (4) delight in the agreeable things of life; (5) the sympathy of friends; (6) the contemplation of the truths of religion; (7) nourishment to counteract the depression of the physical powers.”

“To moderate excessive sadness we should besides (1) pray and receive the sacraments; (2) make frequent acts of conformity to God’s holy will; (3) purify our consciences; (4) try to possess our souls in patience.”

In conclusion, Father Geiermann calls our attention to the wisdom of several saints. St. Jerome said that sorrow for sin is grief divine. Thomas a Kempis asserted that one who has no love for earthly things easily conquers sorrow. St. Isidore noted that a good conscience bears sorrow lightly. St. John Chrysostom said that tears of contrition are messengers of joy. St. Bonaventure observed that an occupation helps the sorrowful forget their woes. St. Francis of Assisi taught that a servant of God should not have a sad countenance. And St. Bernard remarked that sadness injures the heart as moths destroy a garment.

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

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