“A passion which we allow to grow active within us through our own choice(s) afterwards forces itself upon us against our will.”

Natural passions are true in all of us. Every one of us experiences passions pulling us toward or pushing us away from one another. We all feel love, lust, anger, fear, joy and hunger. By that last word, I am not suggesting the common sense of, “How long has it been since I last eat?” Rather, it makes plain how all of those prior feelings driving us on down the road.

All of us experience the pleasures, frustrations, all the way over to fears others’ passions ignite in us. We all experience simple things like enjoying mom’s cooking, cuddling with a loved one or feeling exhilarated while riding a raft down a quick river. Toward the other side of this spectrum most all of us have needed to stop the car and take a deep breath after a new miss or calm ourselves down after a long heavy argument with a loved one. Further on out a few of you have known a knife put to the throat or someone telling the truth in court and so putting you in prison.

No matter which direction those passions flow it is how we manage those feelings within ourselves. Several years ago I played a major part in sending a friend to prison for pedophilia. He was so mad at me for a couple years past my letter being read in the court. Now, we are around eight years into his calling me from prison every couple of weeks.

By letting a particular passion of his flow around and past me, I painful learned to live a small part of what St. Mark the Ascetic wrote. My feelings about this friend and what he did have no place in keeping me from loving him. His being in prison isn’t my fault. Yet, if I hadn’t taken the few steps I did he could still be out playing his game.

On the other hand, he now knows my love as a friend. His brother and I are the only one’s keeping in touch with him. When he leaves the prison I may also be the only person willing to take him. Knowing his passion and his knowing my willingness to knock him back down can bring to pass an accountability which is part of how love flows among us.

quote from: St. Mark the Ascetic, On Those who Think that They are Made Righteous by Works: Two Hundred and Twenty-Six Texts, Philokalia, Vol 1. pg. 132.


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