God gave you your emotions for good reasons, says St. John Cassian. The key is to keep them under control, rather than letting them lead you into sin.
For these carnal impulses, of which we spoke above, were implanted in our bodies with a useful purpose by the providence of the Creator: for perpetuating the race, and raising up children for posterity—and not for committing adulteries and debaucheries, which the authority of the law also condemns.
The pains of anger too: don’t we see that they have been very wisely given to us, so that by being enraged at our sins and mistakes, we may apply ourselves instead to virtues and spiritual exercises, showing forth all love towards God, and patience towards our brothers?
We know too how great is the use of grief, which is reckoned among the other vices when it is turned to an opposite use. For on the one hand, when it is in accordance with the fear of God it is very necessary, and on the other, when it is in accordance with the world, very harmful; as the Apostle teaches us when he says that “godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). –St. John Cassian, Institutes, 7.3IN GOD’S PRESENCE, CONSIDER . . .
Which of my emotions seem to be the strongest?
What does God want me to be doing with them?
Father, I grieve for my sins, but you do not desire that sinners should die. Fill me with a spirit of repentance, so that I may turn from sin and be faithful to the gospel.
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