Amoris Laetitia 149: The Distrust of Pleasure

amoris laetitia memeReligion and the denial of emotions are sometimes associated with one another:

149. Some currents of spirituality teach that desire has to be eliminated as a path to liberation from pain. Yet we believe that God loves the enjoyment felt by human beings: he created us and “richly furnishes us with everything to enjoy” (1 Tim 6:17). Let us be glad when with great love he tells us: “My son, treat yourself well… Do not deprive yourself of a happy day” (Sir 14:11-14). Married couples likewise respond to God’s will when they take up the biblical injunction: “Be joyful in the day of prosperity” (Ec 7:14). What is important is to have the freedom to realize that pleasure can find different expressions at different times of life, in accordance with the needs of mutual love. In this sense, we can appreciate the teachings of some Eastern masters who urge us to expand our consciousness, lest we be imprisoned by one limited experience that can blinker us. This expansion of consciousness is not the denial or destruction of desire so much as its broadening and perfection.

Human affect can certainly be experienced as a strong force. At times it is understandable that a being who takes pride in reason and logic might be alarmed at the impulses that arise when emotions are permitted to run amok. At least in the passages cited above, Jewish and Christian Scriptures do not advocate a complete divorce from our feelings. The conclusion? Put passion to use to broaden one’s experience of love and of God.

Remember that Amoris Laetitia is online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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