Amoris Laetitia 145: What We Do With Our Emotions

amoris laetitia memeFeelings are neither good nor bad; they just are. It’s what we do with them. Pop psychology? Nope. The angelic doctor:

145. Experiencing an emotion is not, in itself, morally good or evil.(Cf. Thomas aquinas, Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 24, art. 1.) The stirring of desire or repugnance is neither sinful nor blameworthy. What is morally good or evil is what we do on the basis of, or under the influence of, a given passion. But when passions are aroused or sought, and as a result we perform evil acts, the evil lies in the decision to fuel them and in the evil acts that result.

This is a point often missed today. Do we fuel our emotions, tilting toward acts that are themselves immoral or unethical, indulging that occasion of sin?

Some elaboration on feeling good:

Along the same lines, my being attracted to someone is not automatically good. If my attraction to that person makes me try to dominate him or her, then my feeling only serves my selfishness. To believe that we are good simply because “we feel good” is a tremendous illusion.

And on the confusion between some forms of neediness and the capacity to love:

There are those who feel themselves capable of great love only because they have a great need for affection, yet they prove incapable of the effort needed to bring happiness to others. They remain caught up in their own needs and desires. In such cases, emotions distract from the highest values and conceal a self-centeredness that makes it impossible to develop a healthy and happy family life.

Thoughts on this?

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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