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Spiritual Redirection

The principal cause of all unhappiness in unregulated desire—wanting more than is needed or wanting what is harmful to the spirit.

Once the instincts and passion are subject to the will, they can be controlled and guided. The Church does not repress passions when it restrains their unlawful expression. It does not deny emotions, any more than it denies hunger; the Church only asks that, when a man sits at the table, he shall not eat like a pig. Our Lord did not repress the intense emotional zeal of Paul; He merely redirected it from hate to love. Our Lord did not repress the biological vitalities of a Magdalene; He merely turned her passion from love of vice to love of virtue. Such a conversion of energies explains why the greatest sinners—like Augustine—sometimes make the greatest saints; it is not because they have been sinners that they love God with their special intensity, but because they have strong urges, violent passions, flowing emotions which turned to holy purposes, now do as much good as they once did harm.

God can do more with fire than He can with tepid water.

—from Peace of Soul by Venerable Fulton Sheen, Ch. 9: Repression and Self-Expression

Peace of Soul

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One comment on “Spiritual Redirection

  1. Thanks for the article. Its interesting that God has given each of us natural passions, but they need to be directed towards spiritual formation rather than corruption. When Paul was saved, he went from being religiously zealous for persecuting the church to being one of its greatest advocates. Its all because of His grace.

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