By Fr. Roy Cimagala
IN life, we have to learn how to give due attention and care to both the pressing things and the precious ones. In the end, we have to learn how to give due attention and care to all the different aspects and dimensions of our life: the material and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, the short-run and the long-run, the emotional and the intellectual, the personal and the social, etc.
We are somehow reminded of this point in that gospel episode when Christ got angry at those who converted the temple into a marketplace and drove them away, but at the same time he did not neglect the task of continually preaching there. (cfr. Lk 19,45-48) It was a pressing matter for him to see to it that the dignity of the temple was kept while still pursuing the precious duty to preach.
This ability to know how to put these different aspects together will certainly require a discipline which would be composed of the results of our experiences, regular study of things and issues, examinations of conscience, a series of trial and error, etc. We should be willing to go through this discipline that will certainly involve effort, wins and losses, success and frustration.
But as long as we are humble enough to be realistic about our life, I believe we would not mind so much the heavy drama that will be involved. Such experience will only enrich our life!
We have to learn how to handle our emotions properly, because once they become too strong, they can displace our intelligence, and even our faith, that give us an over-all picture of things. It’s not a matter of suppressing them, since that would be inhuman. It’s a matter of guiding them always, not allowing them to be simply on their own, since they lack the proper way of knowing things. Theirs is quite simple and shallow.
Our Catechism tells us that our emotions and passions are “movements of the sensitive appetite that incline us to act or not to act in regard to something felt or imagined to be good or evil.” (1763)
In fact, the Catechism tells us that our emotions and 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 mind.” (1764)
Thus, once properly formed and guided, they can be very powerful in helping us carry out our more precious duties of preaching, evangelizing, doing apostolate, etc. They offer an effective linkage to other people as we go through our duties and responsibilities, especially the spiritual ones.
Our emotions and passions therefore serve as a link between our body and soul. They are where we materialize what is spiritual in us, and spiritualize what is material in us. As such, they create a rich texture in our lives. They create the consistency proper to us as a person and as a child of God. They also help to give focus on our judgments, modulate our will, and add sensitivity to our reasoning.
In other words, they play a decisive role in achieving a happy and fully human life. They contribute to achieving the full potentials of our humanity. But given the wounded condition of man, our emotions and passions need to be purified and thoroughly educated. They offer the link between the pressing and the precious in our life.