The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

Homily Notes on Matthew 8:24: The Passions by Fr. George Howe

Posted by Dim Bulb on July 30, 2017

A great tempest arose~Mt 8:2424.

i. A storm at sea, one of the figures of the passions of the soul.
ii. As the passions become sources of sin, consider three points.

The evil passions:

i. Included under three heads chiefly: 1 Jn. 2:16.

a. The concupiscence of the eyes: love of riches.

b. The concupiscence of the flesh: love of pleasure.

c. The pride of life: love of honours,

ii. Incitements to the passions:

a. Objects acting on the senses or the imagination.

b. Fuel supplied by reading, self-indulgence, etc.

c. Idleness: Sirach 33:29.

d. Want of self-restraint.

iii. Figured by the winds, a raging fire, an unruly horse.

Why to be subdued?

i. As useful and necessary, as the breaking in of a horse,

ii. We must avoid sin, and therefore overcome its causes,

iii. Holy Scripture warns us:

Go not after thy lusts, but turn away from thy own will Sir 18:30.
If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself Mt 16:24.

iv. Examples and teaching of the Saints:

Conquer thyself St Ignatius.
The greater violence thou offerest to thyself, the greater the progress thou wilt make Imitation of Christ.

v. Unless subdued themselves, they enslave the soul, as typified by:

The brothers of Joseph, yielding to their envy: Gen. 42.
The prodigal son: Lk 15.
Nabuchodonosor, become as an animal in the fields: Dan. 4:30.

vi. They darken the mind, and disturb the heart,

vii. They cause many mistakes and much misery, both for time and eternity,

viii. Subjection to the passions is a kind of idolatry.

Antiochus and the idol in the Temple: 1 Macc 1:57

ix. To subdue the passions is a glory.

He that ruleth his spirit (is better) than he that taketh cities~Prov. 16:32.

x. Whoso subdues them is truly free.

How to be subdued?

i. Never despair of victory. There are no passions so violent, that they cannot be overcome,

ii. Don t complain of their violence. You are stronger than they, if only you will fight them,

iii. You must wage war against them :

a. With determination.

b. Attacking the predominant passion first. Few subjects can be more interesting than that of the ruling passion, for no obstacle to progress is more common, or more secret, and therefore none more dangerous. There can be no true progress, until an active war is being waged against it.

c. With perseverance. Said the Abbot Theodore to a young monk: You complain that you are fighting now for eight years! Behold I am eighty years of age, and am fighting still.

d. Without discouragement, even should you fall.

e. With confidence in God.

I can do all things in Him who strengthened me~Phil. 4:13.

f. Taking the necessary means:Prayer, watchfulness, penance, etc.

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