August 1, 2014
Each day you and I are faced with a lot of decisions ranging from rather menial things (Which shampoo should I use this morning?) to life-altering choices (Should I take that job in Chicago?). Life is full of decisions. What do you let drive those decisions?
Emotions rule in our “do what feels good” culture. We’re constantly told to follow our feelings, or “passions,” as the Church calls them. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 1772) tells us “the principal passions are love and hatred, desire and fear, joy, sadness and anger.”
Emotions in themselves are neither good nor evil. They should motivate us to act or to not act when faced with different situations. Emotions should be at the service of our intellect and will. The passions are good servants but poor masters
. Unfortunately today, we tend to let them reign as masters.
Let’s use the analogy of a car: The intellect
is like the headlights on a car—it lights the path showing us reality and allows us to recognize truth. The will
is the car’s steering wheel allowing us to decide to go one direction or another—this is our freedom to choose. The passions
are like the accelerator and brake—they’re designed to move us quickly towards what is good and away from what is evil. If we allow our emotions to lead the decision-making process, it’s like driving at night…without your headlights…steering with your knees…with the pedal to the metal—you’re going to crash and really hurt yourself and likely others! This shows the need to have a formed intellect, a determined will to choose the good, and feelings that speed up (not drive) the process.
Each day when faced with decisions, ask God what His will is for you. Then, look at the reality of the matter—what are the circumstances and consequences of the decision, including the moral impacts? Notice the emotions that are involved and what is motivating these feelings. Choose what is morally good, or if the choice is between two good things, choose the higher good.
• Duppong, a native of Haymarsh, N.D., has served as director of faith formation for the Bismarck Diocese since July 2012. Check out Michelle’s monthly faith formation talk series online by clicking here.
>> Read more DCA Online stories
>> Watch more DCA Online videos