Pope Francis, “Keep watch over your emotions!”

In his homily for his installation, Pope Francis reflected on the “vocation of protector”  so ably modelled by St. Joseph, who’s feast we celebrate today.  In his comments, Pope Francis made some surprising and important comments on the importance of developing emotional control and how our ability to be good stewards of our emotions directly affects our ability to be the protectors of one another God calls us to be.

But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves! Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives! Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down!   (Read more)

Pope Francis makes a powerful point about the obligation for Christians to master their emotions.  But what does that mean?  As we discussed on the show today, “emotional control” doesn’t mean stuffing your feelings, denying your feelings, or refusing to recognize your feelings.  It means being aware of your feelings and being able to choose to make the healthiest response in the presence of those feelings. 

On More2Life Radio today–which was all about heeding Pope Francis’ call to emotional control–Lisa used a great analogy.  She said that emotions are like a grade school fire alarm and that learning emotional control is like a fire drill.  In the presence of that fire alarm, some kids want to naturally run around like chickens with their heads cut off (the “effusers” in our metaphor).  Other kids just sit there and stare at the wall (i.e., the emotional “stuffers”).  But both groups of kids need to learn to line up behind the teacher promptly, and proceed calmly to the nearest exit.  That’s really true.    Whether our initial emotional reaction is to effuse or stuff, the path to emotional control is learning to recognize your emotions and still be able to choose the healthiest response to the circumstance in the presence of your emotions.  When the emotional fire alarm rings, we need to line up behind our master, Jesus Christ, and follow him wherever he leads.

—When you need faithful, Catholic marriage, family, or personal counseling, the Pastoral Solutions Institute Tele-Counseling Practice can help.  Visit our website or call 740-266-6461 to make an appointment to speak with a professional Catholic counselor.

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About Dr. Greg

Dr. Gregory Popcak directs the Pastoral Solutions Institute, an organization dedicated to helping Catholics find faith-filled solutions to marriage, family, and personal problems. Together with his wife, Lisa, he hosts More2Life Radio. He is the author of over a dozen books integrating psychological insights with our Catholic faith. For more info about books, tele-counseling and other resources, visit www.CatholicCounselors.com.


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