"Is Passion Good or Bad"

By Paul Dion, STL

I am presenting you with an introductory topic that is directly connected to what is known as moral theology.

What is passion? Is it good or bad?

Tell us what you feel about this question from deep in your heart. Share it with us. If you feel too shy to post your name, you can sign it anonymous.

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  1. Passion can be understood as a burning desire to embrace at the deepest level the object of desire. It's not a question of whether passion is necessarily good or bad, but the question becomes one of misdirection.
    Passion is a gift from God. Right directed holy passion, keeps us seeking things above more than things of the earth. Passion leads a soul to do things that necessarily it would not. As a convert to the Catholic faith,I am pursuing with passion the heart of God because in Him and thru Him I have my very being. Coming to a deeper understanding of this truth has come at a great cost as I sought other passions only to be awakened to the reality that those false passions were just an illusion that brought momentary escape and pleasure. Embracing the passionate heart of God as he daily calls us to a deeper conversion, is certainly not for the faint hearted, but for those of us who are willing to daily die to ego and the illusions of this world that so easily entangle our seeking souls.


  2. Anonymous4:09 PM

    Here's my interpretation of "Passion". I think Passion for anything can be a good thing as long as it is tempered a little with realism. If one has a passion for something it can blind you into thinking that passion is always good. In my opinion, as in everything, there are always two sides to consider: Passion in any religion can easily border on "fanaticism" as we have clearly seen by all the suicide bombers of today: they certainly have a Passion for Allah: of course all the men get to go to their "heaven" surrounded by 40 Virgins, I'd be easily swayed to be passionate about my religion too if I knew I'd have 40 Virgins around me for eternity. But we have seen what THAT Passion does. On the other hand, Passion in religion can be a good thing if it influences your life positively and gives you a good track to run your life on. It influences you to make good moral decisions (for the most part, anyway), and be a positive force in life.

  3. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Passion, generally described as a powerful emotion, can be considered good, as well as bad. Our negative thoughts can trigger bad emotions, as well as our positive thoughts trigger good emotions.

    The sufferings of Jesus is one example of a powerful emotional passion. Our goal should be to experience these passions within our heart, and share them with others.
    A perfect way to achieve our goal is through prayer, perhaps one of our daily devotional prayers, the Rosary, it's all there in the mysteries.

    When our time comes, if we have tried our best, through prayer and action, then we will experience, forever, the passion of love, within the hearts of Jesus and Mary.

  4. Anonymous4:20 PM

    by Paul Dion, STL

    It was very consoling to see the comments roll in. Very consoling to see that everyone was on board with passion able to be good or bad. Most of us have to feel passion before getting something done. Most of us have to feel passion in order to keep what we have started going. So when we consider passion, we know that there is good news and bad news.

    First, the good news.

    Passion comes from a Latin word that indicates something that is felt and induces a response. We talk of the Passion of Christ, because the Latin language with a capital "P" has been maintained to celebrate this monumental event.

    However, over time, most of the passive meaning of the Latin word has been taken out of it. Most of us think of passion as a driving force rather than a reactive force.

    The truth is we have some internal, personal forces that help us to decide whether or not we are going to get "passionate" about something. The truth, therefore is, that we have to receive a powerful impulse from something exterior to our intimate being before we can get passionate over it.

    The truth also is that our interior and intimate personal forces inform us concerning the morality of the impulse about which we are about to make a decision.

    Let me get personal with you about this. I have a passion for language. I seek the depths of language, I do the same with words. I discovered this about myself while I was still in high school. This side of me helped me to make a decision not to pursue the possibility of playing baseball professionally.

    It wasn't easy. Both were rattling my cage rather violently, but I had to make a choice. I didn't make the choice out of passion, but out of cautious intellectual and emotional scrutiny.

    Now the bad news.

    Passion can override our conscience. Passion can actually override our intimate, personal forces that tell us that a certain line of behavior is wrong.

    We all know that driving 90 miles per hour, even in the San Joaquin Valley where the road is straight and endless but most of us have overriden our common sense and our conscience at one time or another and pushed it to 90 and sometimes above, out of passion for the thrill.

    In this case, we could say that passion is "bad" because it pushed us to do something "bad."

    Passion is powerful because it drives us so inexorably that it takes more strength than we expect to subdue it. That's when we label passion "bad".

    Finally, human beings do not ever do anything that they perceive to be "bad." Everything we do is done out of a decision somewhere in us that says that it is good to do this. Even the evil that we do is done because we perceive it at the moment as good. Sometimes it feels so "good" that we decide that it can't possibly be bad. The passion that drives us back to that particular "good" despite intellectual and religious information to the contrary, we label as "bad."

    Sadly, we use that as an excuse to explain away our personal weakness in certain areas. I say "sadly" because as I explained earlier, passion is a secondary force, not a primal one. The truly religious and conscientious person finds the strength to overcome bad passionate behavior by having recourse to the primal forces within all of us.

    I'm going to give you a day or two to think this over. Most of you will perhaps come to the very logical decision that "passion" is neutral and takes on the color of the behavior that we choose following our first contact with the first impulse.

    Stay tuned for the follow-up Burning Question that is just begging to be thrown out on the table.

  5. Anonymous7:51 PM

    I think Passion can be good; but I also believe that it can be bad. Passion for me means feeling very deeply about something. I am very passionate about my faith so much so that tears come to my eyes when speaking of it with others, or when listening to songs/hymns, or experiencing powerful sermons.

    The good:

    1. I'm passionate about my love for my children and about being a mother. I always cry when complimented about my acts as a mother.

    2. I've been accused of being passionate about my work/job to the point that I need to excel at every aspect of that job. I take much pride & joy in doing a good job.

    Now for the bad: I love food with a passion, especially sweets to the detriment of my health. It's an ongoing battle for me. I've loved the men in my life with a passion, especially the sexual aspects, to the point that I have made some really bad choices and decisions in my life. That's all I have to say about that. God Bless.

    4:12 PM