Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Passion and Dispassion

A priest working in a diocesan religious education center recalls his early years before entering the seminary.He writes about his experience in Bible & Life. In second year high school, he was invited by a close friend to go to the cathedral church in Seoul. An opportunity to ride the subway made the  invitation attractive. They arrived at the cathedral where there was a program for those  interested in the priesthood. This was the first time he heard of such a program.

Looking back over 25 years, he doesn't remember anything that was said, but only the delicious  high-class  doughnuts, their taste, aroma and color. Doughnuts made him want to be part of the group preparing for the seminary, and a desire to be a priest. He was taken up with a dream and a passion, but did not envision the dispassion that would follow the passion. 

In the seminary, it was not vocation, God's call, but concern about the grades.The very ambiguous call of God did not compare to the here and now reality of getting the necessary marks to move ahead. He admits more than vocation it was his choice, more than the will of God it was his dream, that was important. He wanted to be a seminarian, a priest; it was his desire that made him put all his efforts to be a priest; he was driven by passion. 

25 years have passed; he is now a priest. His passion enabled him to become a priest, but the passion disappeared. Passion is in our hearts but where there is also a trap. We are not persons with an earthly eternity. Passion does not exist eternally, and his passion dried up and disappeared, and in its place dispassion. 

The time in the Confession seemed like an eternity.  Telephone rings late at night were irritating. His sermons were unprepared and rambling. The TV remote control in his hand was more to his liking than the breviary. Satisfaction came seeing money pile up in his bank book. When praised his body responded and when criticized, he scowled, no more passion.

Passion enabled him to achieve what he wanted, passion gave him strength to realize his dream. But the passion was limited to this goal; attainment brought coldness. Dreams disappeared; passion  turned what he desired into something meaningless.

Dispassion  cannot  be turned into passion, and if it were possible, this would again return to coldness.  There is nothing that he could put between the passion and dispassion. 

Abraham was called by God to go on a journey, it was not his journey but God's journey. He found meaning in the journey that  was given. Abraham's passion came from  the call of God, and it never disappeared.  "Go forth from the land of  your kinsfolk and from your father's house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you...Abram went as the Lord directed him (Gen. 12:1-4).

 We have to search for meaning. Where I am now did not come by passion but from meaning, a gift I have received. The passion comes not from the realization of my dream but my answer to a call given by God; this passion will continue. It is my relationship with God that is important and will fill my life with meaning. Love that comes from God gives us passion, gives us meaning and lights the way. 

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