“First we must struggle against our own passions, watching and keeping in mind the course of the battle; and then on the basis of personal experience we can advise others about this warfare, and render victory easier for them by describing the tactics beforehand.”
St Neilos The Ascetic
Philokalia Volume 1
I rarely hear people say they are struggling against the passions in ordinary conversation. In reality, passion has more a positive connotation in our culture. I am passionate about this game, this team, this candidate, this idea, this position etc. Passion evokes energy and excitement about the moment or about a future event. For the early desert fathers and mothers, they saw the other side of passion or, as we shall say, the passions. The passions for them were necessary temptations that had to be identified and overcome as part of their spiritual journey. We all struggle with various passions which can be understood as anything we do that is a detriment to our relationship with one another and God. Passion is good when the end result is our greater participation in God’s work in the world. This week take several opportunities to outline things in your normal routine where you struggle with the passions or things that take you away from God. When you identify them do not feel bad but begin the work of overcoming them which may be an arduous process, but in the end a very fulfilling one.