The Eternal Perspective of Emotion

God endowed Man with passions, or feelings/emotions (CCC 1771), to assist Man towards moral perfection (CCC 1770) and beatitude (CCC 1762).  Emotions (meaning “to move out”) are natural components of human psychology that connect the senses and the mind (CCC 1764) and are not inherently good or evil (CCC 1767).  Emotions do incline Man to embrace good/virtue or evil/vice (CCC 1763, 1774); they become good when they incline the will/reason towards good or become evil when they incline the will/reason towards evil (CCC 1768).  Emotions inclined to beatitude include love, joy, peace and happiness (CCC 1718, 1024, 1029).  Other emotions include fear and sadness (CCC 1772).  Some emotions are inclined toward/or are always evil including pride, lust, envy, jealousy, anger, greed, gluttony (CCC 1852, 1866), despair (CCC 2091) and hatred (CCC 2303).  One cannot love and engage in evil emotions at the same time (CCC 1825-26).

When Emotions become Evil

At Eden, emotions became perverted and evil in Man.  Before falling to temptation, Adam and Eve were envious of God and full of pride; after eating the fruit they felt lust, shame and fear (Gen 3:1-22).  After Eden, Genesis records Man’s continued perversion into sin and evil emotions: Cain is filled with envy and murderous anger (Gen 4:1-16); Noah falls to drunken gluttony and Ham lusts after his mother (Gen 9:18-28), the builders of the Tower of Babel are filled with pride; Sodom is consumed with lust; Laban deceives Jacob in greed (Gen 29:25); Simeon and Levi burn with rage and murder (Gen 49:5-7) and Joseph’s brothers are filled with jealousy and hatred (Gen 37:4).

The Emotions of Jesus Christ

Jesus demonstrates the perfect engagement of human emotions:

  • Demonstrates perfection in emotion – Through His human nature, Jesus experienced all aspects of being human except for Sin (CCC 470).  Jesus is Man’s model of holiness (CCC 459).  In His Perfection, Jesus’ emotions are perfectly ordered towards the embrace of the Will of the Father to love.   Jesus has no evil emotions (i.e. pride, lust, envy, jealousy, greed, gluttony and hatred).  Jesus’ cry of “My God why have thou forsaken me” (Matt 27:46) is not a cry of abandonment, fear or cowardice, but a reference to God’s coming victory (Psalm 22).
  • Experiences love as His primary emotion – “Jesus Christ is love” (1 John 4:8) and He demonstrates the perfection of love as the Son of God (John 3:16).   Love, as an emotion, is “aroused by the attraction of the good. Love causes a desire for the absent good and the hope of obtaining it; this movement finds completion in the pleasure and joy of the good possessed” (CCC 1765); “all other affections have their source in this first movement of the human heart towards the good” (CCC 1766).   Jesus expresses compassion numerous times (Matt 9:36, 14:14, 20:24, Mark 1:41, 8:2; Luke 7:13).  Jesus offers the greatest love, by His own choice (CCC 609), to lay down His life for His friends (John 15:13).
  • Is full of peace and joy – As the Prince of Peace, Jesus possesses peace in perfection (CCC 2305).  Jesus also possesses abundant joy (Luke 10:21, John 15:11; 17:13).  The joy of Jesus is sometimes expressed in humor (Matt 7:4, 23:24).
  • Experiences “agony” at Gethsemane – As He anticipates His own suffering and death at the Passion (Matt 26:36-46), Jesus sweats blood (Luke 22:44).  Jesus experiences grief (Matt 26:38; Isa 53:3) at Man’s coming evil acts at the Passion (CCC 1765).  Man also experiences negative emotions (grief, fear, disgust, etc.), moved by the Holy Spirit to reject evil (CCC 1769).
  • Shows Perfection in “anger” – Jesus’ zeal/anger in the clearing of the Temple (John 2:13-20) should not be confused with a fit of anger or “anger [which] is a desire for revenge” (CCC 2302-03);  Jesus specifically denounces this type of murderous anger and hatred as immoral (Matt 5:22).  Rather, Jesus’ reaction of righteous indignation is praiseworthy (CCC 584; Psalm 69:9, 119:53; Mark 3:5) because it “imposes restitution to correct vices and maintain justice” (CCC 2302).  Jesus does not seethe in rage, for to do so would be sinful (Eph 4:26-27).  On other occasions, Jesus uses anger to communicate displeasure and to correct Man (Mark 3:5, 10:14) and expresses anger in reaction to betrayal (John 11:33, 13:21).
  • Experiences sorrow – Jesus experiences sorrow at the hardness of Man’s heart (Mark 3:5), in sympathy to the sorrow over Lazarus’ death (John 11:33-38), over the coming destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 19:41-44) and at His death on the Cross (Matt 27:45-46).

Jesus instructs Man how to properly engage the emotions:

  • Instructs the disciples to embrace love – Jesus distills the entire Mosaic Law to the “love of God and neighbor” (Matt 22:34-40) and commands the disciples to “love one another” (John 13:34), moved by the Holy Spirit (CCC 1822-29).  The acts and emotions of love can not be truly engaged out of fear of punishment (Hell) or out to the greed of reward (Heaven), but out simple love of Christ and the good (CCC 1828).  The fruits of love are the beatific emotions of joy and peace in which Man finds true rest (CCC 1829; Gal 5:22-26).
  • Promises to give peace and joy – As the Prince of Peace (CCC 2305) Jesus blesses the “peacemakers” (Matt 5:9) and offers to give peace (Matt 11:28-30, Mark 5:34, Luke 7:50, John 14:27) and joy to those who seek His Will (CCC 2304-05) through the Holy Spirit (CCC 736).  The Apostles underscore the importance of embracing peace (Heb 12:4, Rom 5:1, Phil 4:7, 1 Cor 14:33, 2 Thes 3:16).
  • Instructs Man to turn from evil emotions – Jesus specifically instructs Man against evil emotions:  lust (Matt 5:28), fear and worry (Matt 6:34, Mark 4:40, John 14:27), envy (Luke 12:15), greed (Luke 12:16-21), pride (Luke 20:45-47) and anger (Matt 5:22).  The Church also warns against despair as a sin against hope (CCC 2091).
  • Demonstrates how to turn to the Father in times of emotional turmoil – Jesus demonstrates that in times of emotional turmoil and stress, one must quickly turn to the Father: at the sorrow of John the Baptist’s death (Matt 14:13), at Lazarus’ death (John 11:41), in Gethsemane (Luke 22:41-44) and at the Passion (Matt 27:46).


Freedom, Responsibility, Conscience and Consequences

God created Man as a rational being (CCC 1730) with free will, the ability to choose between good and evil (CCC 1732), responsibility for choices (CCC 1734), a conscience to guide choices (CCC 1777-1802) and consequences for those choices (CCC 1008).   At Eden (Gen 3:1-24), Man abused his freedom by disobeying God’s commandment and experienced a guilty conscience (CCC 397). In this Original Sin, Man broke harmony with God (CCC 400, 416, 1707, 1739), was immediately held responsible for his choices, bearing the consequences (Gen 3:24).  After Eden, God continues to grant Man freedom and holds Man responsible for choices Man makes (CCC 1745).  Freedom, responsibility and consequences cannot be separated; this is how God designed Creation.

Man’s Attempt to Escape the Inescapable

Modern Man abuses freedom by avoiding responsibility, ignoring conscience and avoiding consequences for choices made.  Man’s abuses of freedom are evident: the desire for sex with no responsibility, the clamoring for rights without responsibilities, exploiting legal loopholes to avoid consequences, aborting children to avoid parenthood, etc.  Man’s conscience about inherent good and evil is being dulled through the totalitarian imposition of moral relativism by government and the courts, a politically correct culture and the increasingly immoral media.  But, Man cannot escape the consequences of choices made: in this life, evil choices yield turmoil, sooner or later (e.g. broken relationships, the despair of guilty conscience, ill health, retribution, etc.); Man’s graver consequences are in the life to come. The Judgment of Jesus Christ is inescapable.

Jesus Christ – Divine Judge

Every man will stand in judgment before Jesus Christ, the Divine Judge.  Jesus: (more…)


Man’s Desperate Need for Salvation

At Eden, Man chose to abuse his freedom, distrusting God and seeking to “be like God” (cf. Gen 3:5).  “By refusing God’s plan of love, [Man] deceived himself and become a slave to Sin…. human history attests the wretchedness and oppression born of the human heart in consequence of the abuse of freedom” (CCC 1739).  Original Sin (CCC 396-409) led Man into: “material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death…the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation” (CCC 2448).  St. Gregory of Nyssa teaches: “Sick, our nature demanded to be healed; fallen, to be raised up; dead, to rise again. We had lost the possession of the good; it was necessary for it to be given back to us.  Closed in the darkness, it was necessary to bring us the light; captives, we awaited a Savior; prisoners, help; slaves, a liberator” (CCC 457).

The Epidemic of False Hope

Since Eden, Man has always grasped for salvation.  Adam and Eve put their hope in the false promises of Satan (Gen 3).  With the Tower of Babel, humans sought salvation (Gen 11:1-9).  The Israelites turned from God and sought salvation from the false Canaanite gods (Num 25:1-3; Jud 2:11).  At the time of Christ, Caesar Augustus and Tiberius promoted a “Gospel” of salvation with Caesar worshiped as “Divine Savior.”  In recent times, false messiahs in the form of people (Marx, Freud, Nietzsche, Hitler, Stalin, Mao) and ideologies (Communism, Naziism, Scientism, Progressivism, etc.) dominate the cultural and political realms, exploiting the inherent need for salvation embedded in the human heart. Despite the illusion of human progress, hundreds of millions of people were killed in the last century; mass killings continue to occur today in the form of wars and abortion.  In false hope, there is no hope.

Jesus Christ – Divine Savior

Only Jesus Christ, the Divine Savior, has the power and will to save Man.  Jesus: (more…)


Scientism, Selfishness and Death

Modern Man worships Scientism.  Scientism is an idolatrous belief that only that which can be scientifically measured can be trusted.  Scientism rejects the Divine and reduces Man to molecules.  Rejecting the Divine, Man becomes obsessively Selfish, pursuing rampant materialism and living to feed the passions.  Embracing selfishness, Man lives a walking Death, empty, with broken relationships, isolation, addiction, emotional turmoil, ill health and the loss of hope of Heaven.

Jesus Christ reveals the Mystery, Love and Life of the Trinity

In contrast to false knowledge of Scientism, Jesus reveals the Mystery of the Trinity. (more…)


Why is it so hard to be happy?  Despite the great wealth and relative freedom that many in the Western world enjoy, happiness is elusive.  Watch any channel on t.v. and one is bombarded with all kinds of discontent; advertising that seeks to bring attention to unmet “needs”, people searching and competing for fame and wealth and attention, a continual news cycle that amplifies human selfishness as one abuses another.  In this age of “enlightenment”, the ultimate human enlightenment of simple happiness is elusive.

In the quest to quell the pain of discontent, people turn to psychologists who offer all kinds of “treatments” to cure, or at least alleviate, discouragement and depression.  These psychological treatments include approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy and the prescribing of anti-depressants.  TV “psychologists” and pop-gurus of all sorts diagnose and assert all kinds of advice to help the forlorn.  Despite man’s best efforts to treat the pain of being human, depression, suicide, substance abuse and other addictive behaviors are at epidemic levels.  Why can’t we all just be happy?

In today’s Gospel from the Mass (John 15:9-17), Jesus, the Divine Psychologist, gives Man the keys to true joy (more…)


Ray Downing created this image; please visit his website for more information and to get prints of this wonderful image.

The Purposeful Incarnation of Jesus Christ

As part of God’s plan of sheer goodness, the Father sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Savior (CCC 1).  In the Incarnation (meaning, the ‘act of being made flesh’), God purposefully chose to come to Man (CCC 456).  By becoming flesh, Jesus demonstrates God’s love (CCC 458), so that Man might have a perfect model of how to love God and neighbor (CCC 459) and so that Man might be able to participate in God’s divine nature, becoming adopted children of God (CCC 460).

The Importance of the Physical Jesus Christ

The Church places a great emphasis on the importance of Christ’s physical body.  “Since the Word became flesh in assuming a true humanity, Christ’s body was finite.  Therefore the human face of Jesus can be portrayed…” (CCC 476).  “At the same time the Church has always acknowledged that in the body of Jesus “we see our God made visible and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.”  The individual characteristics of Christ’s body express the divine person of God’s Son. He has made the features of his human body his own, to the point that they can be venerated when portrayed in a holy image, for the believer “who venerates the icon is venerating in it the person of the one depicted” (CCC 477).

The Physical Jesus Christ

Scripture, history and meditation offer insights into the Physical Jesus Christ.  (more…)


In the Gospel from the Mass (John 16:12-15) Jesus reaffirms that He is sending the Holy Spirit to help us:

[12] “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. [13] When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.  [14] He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. [15] All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. [16] “A little while, and you will see me no more; again a little while, and you will see me.”

Jesus Christ offers us the great gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us as an Insurance Plan:

  • Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit discloses the full meaning of the Gospel (John 14:26), counter acting the acts of Satan which are purposefully intended to deceive and corrupt the world (John 8:44).
  • As time goes on, now and in the future, Christ has given us this perfect guide who continues the teaching mission of Jesus Christ, bearing witness to the Truth (John 8:31-32; 18:37; CCC 687).
  • This gift of the Spirit to the Apostles, hand-picked by Jesus, and acting on the Authority of Jesus, have continued to lead the Catholic Church through the millennia.  The guidance of the Spirit is Christ’s guarantee that the gospel will not be corrupted, distorted, or misunderstood by the ordained shepherd os the Church during her earthly pilgrimage (CCC 768, 889-92).

We must both take great joy and marvel at how Jesus Christ ensures that His grand strategy of Salvation (His logos) continues through the giving of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is an insurance plan; who knew?

In the Gospel (John 15:26-16:4), Jesus accurately predicts the persecution of Christians:

[26] But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me; [27] and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning. [1]”I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. [2] They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.  [3] And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me.  [4] But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them.

In a long history of persecution that began with Jesus, today there continues to be many places on earth where those who hate, kill Christians.  Western society, though not yet as violent, persecutes Christians through laws, the legal system (HHS Mandate that coerces Christians to support the infanticide of abortion), through unchecked perverted moral slander against the Church and attacks on our Bishops.

All of these sins are part of Christ’s prophesy, and we should not expect them to end.

Pray the words of Our Lord from His persecution on the Cross: “Father, forgive them for what they do.”