907. As our passions are rooted in nature, are they bad in themselves?
“No, it is only their abuse or excess that is bad. The principle of all passions has been given to human beings for their own good, and these passions may spur them to accomplish great things. It is only their abuse that does harm.”
908. How can we define the limit at which passions cease to be good or bad?
“Passions are like a horse that is positive or useful when under control, but dangerous when untamed. A passion becomes wicked the moment you lose control of it, and when it causes harm to yourselves or others.”
Passions are switches that greatly increase your powers, and help you carry out God’s designs. If you allow yourself to be ruled by your passions instead of controlling them, you become a victim of excess. The same force that can be useful ends up annihilating you.
All the passions are rooted in a natural sentiment or want. They are not bad in themselves, since they constitute one of the God-given conditions of our existence. “Passion” usually signifies the exaggeration of a need or feeling, it lies in the excess and not in the cause, and such excess becomes evil when it results in some kind of evil. Every passion that brings human beings closer to an animalistic nature carries them farther away from the spiritual nature. On the contrary, every feeling that raises human beings above the animal nature demonstrates the dominance of their spiritual side over their animal side and brings them closer to perfection.
909. Are an individual’s own efforts enough to vanquish his or her bad tendencies?
“Yes, a very small effort is often all that is needed. It is the will that is missing. It is quite astounding how few of you make any serious effort!”
910. Can human beings obtain effective help from spirits in overcoming their passions?
“If they address a sincere prayer for such help to God, good spirits will help them as it is their duty to do so.” (See no. 459)
911. Are passions sometimes so fierce and irresistible that the will is powerless to withstand them?
“Many people say ‘I want to,’ but their will in only on their lips. They are not genuinely sorry when what they want does not happen. When people are unable to conquer their passions, it is because they take pleasure in yielding to them. Those who can control their passions understands their spiritual nature and know that every victory over them is a triumph of their spirit over matter.”
912. What is the most effective means of fighting the predominance of the corporeal nature?