Saturday, April 13, 2013

Passion for LIfe

The word for insanity in Korean can be used both positively and negatively. Ordinarily, it is used in its negative sense, to be out of one's mind, but the writer on the open forum page of the Catholic Times prefers its positive meaning: having passion or enthusiasm. In our present society, he believes that without this "madness," as he calls it, you are not going to get very far.

To illustrate what he means, he refers to the time he interviewed a well-known vocalist whose life had been difficult, with many crisis and struggles from childhood on, she was the mixed race child born 56 years ago in Korea,  and yet when talking with her he was impressed by her enthusiastic demeanor. It was her passion for what she was doing, he said, that motivated her to be where she is today .

He asks: have any of us ever been madly enthused about something, feeling our heart bursting with joy, ecstatic with happiness? If you haven't, when it comes time to die, won't there be regret? he asks. To guard against this possibility, he suggests we use our time correctly.

How do we give ourselves over to this enthusiasm?  We first must scrupulously reflect and examine ourselves, he says, otherwise we will be seen as a person without sense. Our values and philosophy of life have to enter the picture. The object of our passion must not interfere with our home life, injure our health, or suddenly change our value system. To give ourselves passionately does not mean to leave our wits behind but to muster everything to achieve our goal, and then to go for it. He cites athletes as good examples of those who are passionately involved in what they are doing. There is a difference in doing something zealously and doing it with passion; it is, he says, a question of degree.

In the Gospels, we find Jesus with this kind of passion. He loved God and people with passion. Building up God's kingdom was his mission, giving everyone membership in this kingdom with his love and  words.  We have not chosen Jesus, but he has chosen us. His love and passion has taken hold of us, changed us, and is leading us into a faith life. Passion can change us. The original disciples became the dynamic workers that spread the gospel message throughout the world when they were moved by the love and passion they found in Jesus.

Some people say we are living at a time without passion, passion of the positive kind.  Let us be on fire with the passion that Jesus showed us. Passion is the symphony of life, the columnist lyrically muses. This symphony impresses heaven and moves the earth, oceans dance and the earth becomes jubilant. This earth is meant, he says, for those that are on fire with passion; the columnist would like to be one of them.