In Saint Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica he puts passion into two categories; ordinate and inordinate. According to Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary Ordinate means orderly, regular or methodical and inordinate means disorder, irregular and “not limited to rules prescribed, or to usual bounds”. So, there are some passions that are in bounds and others that are out of bounds. Now, ordinate can also mean ordained. So, it’s fair to say that there are passions that are ordained and other that are not, some that are redemptive and some that are not. To simplify it, there are positive and negative passions.
Years ago someone told me that feelings aren’t good or bad they’re just feeling. It’s what we do with them that determine their virtue. I believe and Saint Thomas seems to agree, that the same can be said about passion. With this concept in place the next obvious question is what are ordinate passions and what are inordinate passions. I see them as two edges of the same sword; let me take a “stab” at this... no pun intended. It’s not so much the feeling but what we do with them.
Ordinate Passions are redemptive and foster freedom. They’re selfless and self sacrificing. They produce life, they’re constructive – they give. They’re genuine and characterized by love.
Inordinate Passions are just the opposite. They’re foster bondage, not freedom. They are selfish, they take, not give and at others’ expense. They’re destructive to the point of death. They’re a counterfeit characterized by lust.
I fear that the church has throw out the baby with the bath water. We’ve experienced so many inordinate passions and so few ordinate that we just decided to get rid of it all. Passion needs to be redeemed, it MUST be! We are in a divine romance. Jesus our Bridegroom has an ordinate, ordained, passionate, extravagant love for us His Bride and He is seeking a passionate lover in return.
There is a beating in my chest even as I type these words! I want to trumpet it from mountain tops. Church, the Bride of Christ arise, awaken from your slumber, the Lover of your soul awaits you. Let us together throw off the traditions of men and the fear of man that has robbed our passion and freedom. Let us run, with reckless abandon into the arms of our Bridegroom to feel His embrace, to drink from His cup and dance with him.
Oh God, restore passion to your church. Grant us great faith to risk again. Set us free from the fear of receiving a counterfeit. Let us drink of your pure love, your deep passionate love for us. Make us to be the pure, spotless Bride ready to receive you, Amen.
“Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth for your love is more delightful than wine”. Song of Solomon 1:2
Copyright © Tom Zawacki 2006
"Worship" by Expressionest Painter Cornelis Monsma
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