The Catholic Defender: What is the object of your Passion
"Wherever there are jealousy and ambition, there are also disharmony and wickedness of every kind; whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it is also peaceable, kindly and considerate; it is full of mercy and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. The peace sown by peacemakers brings a harvest of justice. Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Is it not precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you lack it; so you kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. It is because you do not pray that you do not receive;When you do pray and do not receive, it is because you prayed wrongly, wanting to indulge your passions." (James 3:16 - 4:3) This is a most important scripture reading! What is your passion? What is most important to you? If your passion prevents you from honoring God, if you are more committed to those passions than you are of God, then the above scripture is about you. Matthew 18:20 Jesus says "For where two or three are gathered together IN MY NAME, there am I in the midst of them". Jesus didn't mention about being gathered together to pray for our passions, for what we want.
Jesus is speaking about being gathered together for praying in unity for our needs. Is the Lord the center of your passion? Do you center yourself around doing God's will first in your life? The danger of secularizing our society is we tend to surrender God's sovereignty for our own. This is the equation that I have always tried to place in my life, God first, family second, work third, and fun fourth and from there it is in order as it comes. Consider Catholic Tradition that recalls the little child Jesus gave a teaching on! Mark 9:30-37 Jesus says, "After leaving that place they made their way through Galilee; and he did not want anyone to know, because he was instructing his disciples; he was telling them, 'The Son of man will be delivered into the power of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again.' But they did not understand what he said and were afraid to ask him. They came to Capernaum, and when he got into the house he asked them, 'What were you arguing about on the road?' They said nothing, because on the road they had been arguing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve to him and said, 'If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all.' He then took a little child whom he set among them and embraced, and he said to them, 'Anyone who welcomes a little child such as this in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me, welcomes not me but the one who sent me."
The little child that Jesus took into his arms would grow up to become St. Ignatius of Antioch. It is the same Catholic Tradition that holds that St. John is identified as the one Jesus refered to as the one he loved. John 13:23 is a good example, "One of his disciples, the one whom Jesus loved, was reclining at Jesus side." Notice also John 21:20, "Peter turned and saw the disciple following whom Jesus loved, the one who had also reclined upon his chest during the supper and had said, 'Master, who is the one who will betray you?" Notice that St. John does not identify who this disciple is! It comes from that apostolic Catholic tradition that it is St. John himself who is that disciple! Likewise, it is from the same Catholic Tradition that tells us about this little child! Can you imagine the impact that Jesus must of had on the child St Ignatius? The Lord became St. Ignatius passion. So much so that when he was arrested for being a Christian, he saw the abuse of the Roman Soldiers as a blessing. It made him feel like a disciple.
St. Ignatius would be taken to Rome and ultimately thrown to wild beasts rather than renounce the Lord. We see this among the Saints for nearly 2,000 years. I am not short of testimonies on this point. The question is, What is your passion? Is your faith calling you to be a Saint? It better be! Jesus didn't give 100% so that you would only give 10%, 50%, or even 75%! We must pick up our cross and follow him.
We are called to give 100%! With that being said, when we do stumble and fall, the Lord calls us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves and continue marching forward! If we allow the grace flowing from the Sacraments to take root in us, then we will certainly be placing our passions in the right place.