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Friday, September 21, 2012

Silence of Passion

Finally, we come to the virtue of "silence of passion", which does NOT mean that we should eradicate all passion or emotion from our lives. Blessed Chaminade recognized the value of passion and emotion in helping us be transformed to be more like Christ. Even a cursory examination of Chaminade's own life will reveal a passionate man: passionate about living for Christ and about helping others grow spiritually. This is a man who wore disguises and risked his own life during the French Revolution to bring sacraments to faithful Catholics. This is a man who spent three years in exile imagining how he could re-Christianize his homeland once he was allowed to return. This was a man who re-animated the faith of thousands of people. It is hard to imagine him doing that without passion. But it was a directed, concentrated passion: a passion for his mission.

At one point in his life, Chaminade had been a science teacher. One of my favorite images (in my mind) is of Father Chaminade teaching a classroom of students about science. We know from letters he wrote, that he frequently used experiments in the classroom. As a teacher, I know how easily my passion for my subject can bubble to the top; I imagine Father Chaminade excitedly discussing some scientific truth with his students revealing his passion for helping students learn.

This virtue challenges us to be mindful of our passions and emotions: to focus and cultivate those passions that help us live better, and to let go of those passions and emotions that are holding us back. 

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