On the Predominant Passion

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Passions/Emotions
[Love/Hatred, Desire/Aversion, Joy/Sorrow, Hope/Despair,
Fear/Courage, Envy/Lust/Anger]

Frontal Lobe: Controls how we react to situations Emotionally (Passions).

Five (5) External Senses
[Touch, Smell, Hearing, Sight, Taste]

Cerebrum: Controls how we respond to different Sensory Signals (Sensation).
Parietal Lobe: Controls our Sense of Touch.
Occipital Lobe: Controls our Sense of Vision.
Temporal Lobe: Controls our Sense of Hearing.

Four (4) Internal Senses
[Sentient Consciousness, Imagination, Sentient Memory, and Estimation]

Satisfactions
[Food/Drink/Rest/Sex]

Other

Pons: Controls our Breathing and Heartbeat.
Brain Stem: Sends all of the Decisions that the Brain makes
to the rest of the Body.

Cerebellum: Coordinates Locomotion.

 

He came again therefore into Cana of Galilee, where He made the Water, Wine. And there was a Certain Ruler, whose Son was Sick at Capharnaum. He having heard that Jesus was come from Judea into Galilee, went to Him, and Prayed Him to come down, and Heal his Son; for he was at the Point of Death. Jesus therefore said to him: Unless you see Signs and Wonders, you Believe not. The Ruler saith to Him: Lord, come down before, that my Son Die - John 4:46-49

 

On the Predominant Passion

by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

How the Senses of the Body can Corrupt the Mind of the Soul

Life of the Senses
(Body)

Two-Way
Passage

Life of the Mind
(Soul)

Passions/Emotions/
Imagination/Memory/
Sensitive Appetite


Soul/Intellect/Will/
Heart/Reason/
Rational Appetite

CC-1764 The Passions are Natural Components of the Human Psyche; they form the Passageway and ensure the connection between the Life of the Senses and the Life of the Mind.
Satan directly attacks the Psychosomatic Powers, already weakened by Original Sin. However, Satan can only Indirectly Affect the Intellect and Will through 'Natural', 'Physical', and 'Psychological' Causes.
Passions, Feelings, Emotions, Imagination, are Movements-of the Sensitive Appetite, which are limited-by the Rational Appetite. God's Grace strengthens the Rational Appetite.

 

Our Passions are, not of themselves, Bad nor Hurtful. When Regulated, According-to the Dictates-of Reason and Prudence, they do us no Injury, but are, on the Contrary, Profitable-to the Soul; but when Disorderly, they are Productive-of Irreparable Mischief, to those who Obey them; for when any Passion takes Possession-of the Heart, it Obscures the Truth, and makes the Soul Incapable-of Distinguishing-between Good and Evil. Ecclesiasticus Implored the Lord to Deliver him from a Mind, under the Sway-of Passion. "Give me not over to a Shameless and Foolish Mind" - Ecclesiasticus 23:6. Let us then be Careful, not to Allow any Bad Passion, to Rule-over us. In this Day's Gospel, it is Related that a Certain Ruler, whose Son was at the Point-of Death (incipiebat enim mori), Knowing that Jesus Christ had Come-into Galilee, went in Search-of Him, and Entreated Him to come, and Cure his Son. "Lord, come down before, that my Son Die". The same may be said of him who Begins-to Submit-to the Tyranny of any Passion. He is at the Point of Death of the Soul, which should be Dreaded far-more-than the Death-of the Body. Hence, if he Wishes to Preserve Spiritual Life, he ought-to Ask the Lord to Deliver him, as-soon-as Possible, from that Passion - Lord, come down before my Soul Die; if he does not, he shall be Miserably Lost. I intend Today to Show the Great Danger of Damnation, to which all who Submit-to the Domination-of any Bad Passion, are Exposed.


"Giving Ear to the Serpent"

"Only this", said Solomon, "I have found, that God made Man 'Right', and he hath Entangled himself with an Infinity of Questions" - Ecclesiastes 7:30. God made Man 'Right', - that is, in the State-of-Justice; but, by Giving-Ear to the Serpent, Man Exposed himself to Temptation, and was Conquered. He Rebelled-against God, and his Passions Rebelled-against himself. These are the Passions, which, according-to Saint Paul, cause a Continual War between the Flesh and the Spirit. "For the Flesh Lusteth against the Spirit: and the Spirit against the Flesh; for these are Contrary, one to another: so that you do not, the Things that you Would" - Galatians 5:17. However, with the Aid of Divine Grace, it is in Man's Power to Resist these Passions, and not to-Allow them to Rule-over him. It is, as the Lord told Cain, even in the Power-of Man, to Rule-over them, and to bring them into Subjection-to Reason. "But the Lust thereof, shall be under thee, and thou shalt have Dominion over it" - Genesis 4:7. Let the Assaults-of the Flesh, and of the Devil, to make us Abandon the Way-of God, be ever-so Violent, Jesus Christ has said, "For lo, the Kingdom of God is within you" - Luke 17:21. Within us, He has Established a Kingdom, in which the Will is the Queen, that ought-to Rule-over all the Senses and Passions. And what Greater Honor or Glory, can a Man have, than to be the Master-of his Passions?

The Proper Regulation-of the Motions-of the Mind, constitutes the Interior Mortification, so much recommended-by Spiritual Masters, and Secures the Salvation-of the Soul. The Health-of the Body depends-on the Regulation-of the Humors; if One of them Predominate-to Excess, it causes Death. But, the Health-of the Soul consists-in the Proper Control-of the Passions by Reason. But, when any Passion Rules-over Reason, it First (1st) Enslaves, then Kills the Soul.

 

State of Man before, and after the Fall of Adam & Eve, depicted above

State of Man >>

State of Justice
(Garden of Eden)

Original Sin
(After Rebellion)

Grace: >>
Intellect: >>

Infused Grace & Knowledge

Lost Grace -
Ignorance

Will: >>

Loving Obedience

Tends to Malice

Passions: >>

Spontaneous Virtue

Concupiscence

Body: >>

Immortal

Suffering/Death

Concupiscence = The Loss of the Harmony, Integrity, Coordination or Balance between Body and Soul. The Passions of the Body are not Docile Servants of the Soul, but often Rebel against the Limitations which Reason, Enlightened-by Faith, impose as the Norm-of Action.

 

Many pay Great Attention-to their External Conduct; they Endeavor-to appear Modest and Respectful; but, at the same-time, they Cherish-in their Hearts, Sinful Affections-against Justice, Charity, Humility, and Chastity. For them is Prepared the Chastisement, with which the Savior Threatened the Scribes and Pharisees, who were Careful-to have their Cups and Dishes 'Clean', but Nourished-within, Unjust and Unclean Thoughts. "Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites; because you make Clean the Outside-of the Cup and of the Dish, but Within you, are Full-of Rapine and Uncleanness" - Matthew 23:25. The Royal Prophet says, that all the Beauty of a Soul, that is, the True Daughter-of God, Consists-in an Interior, Good-Will. "All the Glory-of the King's Daughter is Within" - Psalm 44:14. Of what use, then, says Saint Jerome, is it to Abstain-from Food, and, at the same-Time, to Allow the Mind to Swell-with Pride? or, to Abstain-from Wine, and to Indulge-in the Drunkenness-of Anger? "Quid prodest tenuari abstinentia, si animus superbia intumescit? quid vinum non bibere, et odio inebriari?" Christians, who Act-in this Manner, do not Lay-aside their Vices; they only Cover them, with the Mantle-of Devotion. A Man, then, must Divest himself of all Bad Passions; otherwise he will not be the King, but the Slave-of his Affections, and in Opposition-to the Command-of the Apostle, Sin shall Reign-in his Heart: "Let no Sin therefore, Reign-in your Mortal Body, so as to Obey the Lusts thereof" - Romans 6:12. Man, then, is, as Saint Thomas says, the King-of himself when he Regulates his Body and his Carnal Affections, According-to Reason. "Rex est homo per rationem, quia per eam regit totum corpus et affectus ejus". But, according-to Saint Jerome, "when the Soul serves Vice, she Loses the Honor of a Kingdom". She Loses the Honor-of a 'Queen', and becomes as Saint John teaches, the Slave-of Sin. "Whosoever committeth Sin, is the Servant of Sin" - John 8:34.

Saint James Exhorts us to Treat the Body and its Lusts, as we Treat a Horse. We put a Bridle-in the Mouth-of a Horse, and we Bring him wherever we Please. "For if we put Bits into the Mouths of Horses, that they may Obey us, and we Turn-about their Whole Body" - James 3:3. Hence, as-soon-as we Feel the Cravings-of any Bad Passion, we must Restrain it with the Bridle-of Reason; for, if we Yield-to its Demands, it will Bring us to the Level-of Brute Animals, that Obey not the Dictates-of Reason, but the Impulse-of their Beastly Appetites. "And Man, when he was in Honor, did not Understand; he is compared to Senseless Beasts, and is Become like to them" - Psalm 48:13. "It is Worse", says Saint John Chrysostom, "to become Like, than to be Born, a Senseless Beast; for to be Naturally without Reason, is Tolerable". The Saint says, that to Want Reason by Nature, is not Disgraceful; but to be Born-with the Gift of Reason, and afterwards, to Live-like a Beast, Obeying the Lusts-of the Flesh, is Degrading-to Man, and makes him Worse-than a Senseless Brute. What would you say, if you saw a Man who would, of his own Accord, Live-in a Stable with Horses, Feed-with them on Hay and Oats, and Sleep-as they do, on Dung? The Man who Submits-to the Tyranny of any Passion, does what is Far-worse, in the Eyes-of God.

It was thus the Gentiles lived, who, because the Darkness-of their Understanding, Prevented them from Discerning-between Good and Evil, went wherever their Sensual Appetite led them. "That henceforward you Walk not as also the Gentiles Walk, in the Vanity of their Mind, having their Understanding Darkened" - Ephesians 4:17-18. Hence, they were Abandoned-to their Vices, to Impurity and Avarice; and Blindly-obeyed the Commands-of their Passions. "Who Despairing, have Given themselves up to Lasciviousness, unto the Working of all Uncleanness, unto Covetousness" - Ephesians 4:19. To this Miserable State, are Reduced all Christians who, Despising Reason and God, follow the Dictates-of Passion. In Punishment-of their Sins, God Abandons them as He Abandoned the Gentiles, to their own Wicked Desires. "Wherefore God gave them up to the Desires of their Heart" - Romans 1:24. This is the Greatest-of all Chastisements.

Saint Augustine writes, that Two (2) Cities may be Built-up in the Heart of a Christian, One by the Love of God, the Other by Self-Love. "Coelestem aedificat amor Dei usque ad contemptem sui; terrestrem aedificat amor sui usque ad contemptum Dei". Thus, if the Love of God Reign-within us, we will 'Despise' ourselves; if Self-Love Reign, we will 'Despise' God. But, in Conquering Self-Love, Consists the Victory, to which shall be given a Crown-of Eternal (∞) Glory. This was the Great Maxim which Saint Francis Xavier always Inculated-to his Disciples, Conquer yourself, Conquer yourself. All the Thoughts and Feelings of Man, says the Scripture, are Inclined-to Evil from his Boyhood. "For the Imagination and Thought of Man's Heart, are Prone to Evil, from his Youth" - Genesis 8:21. Hence we must, during our Whole Life, Zealously Combat and Conquer the Evil Inclinations, which Continually Rise-up Within us, as Noxious Weeds Spring-up in our Gardens. Some will ask how they can Free themselves from Bad Passions, and how they can Prevent them from Starting-up within them. Saint Gregory gives the Answer: "It is one thing to Look at these Beasts, and another to Keep them within the Den of the Heart". It is One Thing, says the Saint, to Look-at these Beasts, or Bad Passions, when they are Outside, and Another to Harbor them in the Heart. As-long-as they are Outside, they can do us no Harm; but if we Admit them into the Soul, they Devour us.

 

Saint Thomas Aquinas: "Egoism is the Source of all Sins"

Inordinate
Self-Love
(Egoism)

Three Concupiscences

Flesh
Eyes

Pride

Seven Capital Sins

Pride, Avarice, Envy, Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, and Sloth

All
Other
Forms
of
Sin

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All Bad Passions, Spring-from Self-Love. This is, as Jesus Christ Teaches all who Wish-to Follow Him, the Principal Enemy which we have to Contend-with; and this Enemy, we must Conquer-by Self-Denial. "If any Man will come after Me, let him Deny himself, and Take up his Cross, and Follow Me" - Matthew 16:24. "Non intrat in te, amor Dei", says Thomas a Kempis, "nisi exulet amor tui". Unless we Banish Self-Love from the Heart, the Love of God cannot Enter. Blessed Angela of Foligno used to say, that she was more Afraid-of Self-Love, than of the Devil, because Self-Love has Greater Power than the Devil, to Draw us into Sin. Saint Mary Magdalene de Pazzi used to say the Same, as we Read-in her Life. "Self-Love is the Greatest Traitor we have to Guard-against. Like Judas, it Betrays us with a Kiss. He who Conquers it, Conquers all Enemies; he who does not Conquer it, is Lost". The Saint then adds: "If you cannot Kill it with a Single Stroke, give it Poison". She meant, that since we are not Able-to Destroy this Accursed Enemy, which, According-to Saint Francis de Sales, Dies only-with our Last Breath, we must at-least Labor-to Weaken it, as-much-as possible; for, when Strong, it Kills us. Death, says Saint Basil, is the Reward which Self-Love Gives-to its Followers. The Wages-of Self-Love is Death; it is the Beginning-of every Evil. "Stipendium amoris proprii mors est, initium omnis mali". Self-love seeks not what is Just and Honorable, but what is Agreeable-to the Senses. Hence Jesus Christ has said, "He that Loveth his Life" - that is, his Sensual Appetite or Self-Will - "shall Lose it; and he that Hateth his Life in this World, Keepeth it unto Life Eternal" - John 12:25. He who Truly Loves himself, and Wishes-to Save his Soul, should Refuse-to the Senses, whatever God has Forbidden; otherwise he shall Lose God and himself.

There are Two (2) 'Principal' Passions which Reign-within us - the 'Concupiscible' and the 'Irascible' Appetites - that is, Love and Hatred. I have said, Two (2) 'Principal' Passions, for each-of them, when Vicious, Draws-in its 'Train', many-other Bad Passions.

The 'Concupiscible' Appetite, Brings-with it:

Temerity,
Ambition,
Greediness,
Avarice,
Jealously,
Scandal

The 'Irascible' Appetite, Brings-with it:

Revenge,
Injustice,
Slander,
Envy

Saint Augustine advises us, in our Combat-with the Passions, not to Endeavor-to Beat them all down in a Single (1) Conflict. "Calca jacentem, conflige cum resistente". We must Trample-on the Passion which we have Cast-to the Ground, so that it may be no-longer able-to Contend-with us; and then we must Endeavor-to Subdue the other Passions, which Resist our Efforts.

But, we must Endeavor above-all, to Find-out our Predominant Passion. He who Conquers this, Conquers all his Passions; he who Allows himself to be Overcome-by it, is Lost. God Commanded Saul to Destroy all the Amalecites, along-with all their Animals, and all their Property. He Destroyed everything that was Vile, but Spared the Life-of King Agag, and Preserved all that was Valuable and Beautiful. "And Saul and the People spared Agag, and the Best of the Flocks of Sheep, and of the Herds, and the Garments and the Rams, and all that was Beautiful, and would not Destroy them: but every thing that was Vile, and Good for Nothing, that they Destroyed" - 1Kings 15:9. In this, Saul was afterwards Imitated-by the Scribes and Pharisees, to whom our Lord said, "Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites; because you Tithe Mint, and Anise, and Cummin, and have left the Weightier Things of the Law; Judgment, and Mercy, and Faith. These Things you ought to have done, and not to Leave those Undone" - Matthew 23:23. They were Careful to Pay the Tithe-of Things-of Least Value, and Neglected the more Important Things of the Law, such as Justice, Charity-to their Neighbor, and Faith-in God. Some Persons Act-in a similar manner; they Abstain-from certain Defects-of Minor Importance, and at the same-Time, allow themselves to be Ruled-by their Predominant Passion; but, if they do not Destroy this Passion, they never shall Gain the Victory-of Salvation. The King-of-Syria, Commanded the Captains-of his Cavalry to Kill the King-of-Israel only, and not to Mind the Others. "Now the King of Syria had Commanded the Captains of his Cavalry, saying: Fight ye not with Small, or Great, but with the King of Israel only" - 2Paralipomenon (Chronicles) 18:30. They Obeyed the Order, slew King Achab, and Gained the Victory.

We must Imitate the Captains-of Syria; unless we Kill the King - that is the Predominant Passion - we shall never be-able-to Obtain Salvation. The Passion which brings Man under its Sway, First (1st) Blinds him, and Prevents him from Seeing his Danger. Now, how can a Blind Man, led by a Blind Guide, such as Passion, which Follows not Reason, but Sensual Pleasures, possibly Avoid Falling-into some Abyss? "And if the Blind lead the Blind, both will Fall into the Pit" - Matthew 15:14. Saint Gregory says, that it is a common Artifice-of the Devil, to Inflame Daily, more-and-more, our Predominant Passion, and thus he Brings us into many Horrible Excesses. Through Passion-for a Kingdom, Herod Spilled the Blood of so many Innocent Infants. Through Love of a Woman, Henry-the-Eighth was the Cause-of so many FrightfulSpiritual Evils, put-to Death, several most Worthy Individuals, and in the End, Lost the Faith. No wonder, for he who is under the Domination-of any Passion, no-longer Sees what he Does. Therefore he Disregards Corrections, Excommunications, and even his own Damnation; he Seeks only his own Pleasures, and says: Come what will, I must Satisfy this Passion. And, as Eminent Virtue is Accompanied-by other Virtues, so an Enormous Vice-brings-in its 'Train', other Vices. "In atena iniquitatis", says Saint Lawrence Justinian, "foederata sunt vitia".

It is Necessary, then, as-soon-as we Perceive any Passion to Reign within us, to Beat-it-down, Instantly, before it Acquires Strength. "Lest Cupidity gain Strength", says Saint Augustine, "Strike it down while it is Small". Saint Ephrem gives the same advice, "Unless you Quickly Destroy Passions, they Cause an Ulcer". A Wound, if it be not Closed-up, will soon become an Incurable Ulcer. To Illustrate this by an Example, a certain Monk, as Saint Dorotheus relates (sermon 11), Commanded One-of his Disciples to Pluck-up a small Cypress. The Disciple Obeyed, and Drew it up with a Slight Effort. The Monk then Ordered him to Pull-up another Tree, which was somewhat Larger. He succeeded-in the Task; but with a Good Deal-of Labor. The Disciple was then told to Pluck up a Tree which had taken Deep Root; but all his Efforts were Ineffectual. The Monk then said to him: Thus it is my Son, with our Passions; when they have taken Deep Root in the Heart, we we shall not be able to Extirpate them. Dearly Beloved Brethren, keep always before your Eyes, this Maxim, that either the Spirit must Trample-on the Flesh, or the Flesh shall Trample-on the Spirit.

Cassian has laid down an Excellent Rule for Conquering our Passions. Let us Endeavor, he says, to change the Object-of our Passions; and thus from being Vicious, they shall become Holy. Some are Prone-to Anger against all who Treat them with Disrespect. Such Persons ought to Change the Object-of their Passions, and Turn their Indignation into a Hatred of Sin, which is more Injurious to them than all the Devils in Hell. Others are Inclined-to Love everyone who possesses Amiable Qualities; they should Fix all their Affections-on God, Who is Infinitely (∞) Amiable. But, to Recommend ourselves to God, and to Beg of Him to Deliver us from our Passions, is the Best Remedy against them. And when any Passion becomes very Violent, we must Multiply Prayers. Reasonings and Reflections are then of Little-use; for Passion Obscures our Facilities; and the more we Reflect, the more-Delightful, the Object-of Passion appears. Hence, there is no other Remedy, than to have Recourse-to Jesus and to Most Holy Mary, saying with Tears and Sighs: Lord, Save us, or we Perish; do not Permit us to be ever Separated from Thee. We Fly to Thy Protection, O Holy Mother of God. O Souls, Created-to Love God, let us Raise ourselves above the Earth; let us Cease-to Fix our Thoughts and Affections on the Miserable Things of this World; let us Cease-to Love Dross and Smoke and Dung; and let us Endeavor, with all our Strength, to Love the Supreme Infinite (∞) Good, our most Amiable God, Who has Made us for Himself, and expects in Heaven to make us Happy, and to make us Enjoy the very Glory which He Enjoys for Eternity (∞).

 

- End of Liguori Sermon -

 

Prayer

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Mother of God, Teach us that Perfect Love of Self, which makes us Aware of our Self-seeking Tendencies, and of our Need of God's Grace, to Support our Efforts in Countering them. Help us to see that we cannot Love Ourselves as we should, in Isolation, but must (at least through Prayer) be Concerned-about the Welfare of those around us, in Need. They too are your Children. Pray for us now, and at the Hour of our Death.

Amen