Saturday 30 August 2014

The controlling role of feelings

Rossi de Gasperis on the controlling role of feelings / affects: it is from the affects, the desires, the real inclinations that one really knows a person and his consciousness, much before and much more than from the external ways which he has concretised his life. It is our authentic desires that form our soul and that impact on our being even before they affect our doing. [337.]
And it is our affects that control our behaviour. If I really want not to have enemies, or at least not to be the enemy of anyone, I can love those who make themselves my enemies, but if within myself I continue to nourish ill-feelings, while repeating that I love them all the same by force of will, I will not go far in receiving the love that God pours into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5, 5). [338.]
So it is not enough to concentrate on the willing and the acting: I have to look at the affects, the desires. And here, only one way: to pray for change. To desire internally and sincerely what God wants of me. To pray for the change of affects. This is filial obedience. This is the obedience of Jesus. [338.]
So to the insistent prayer of the beginning - chiedere insistentemente per la grazia di una intima conoscenza di Te, per amarti di più e seguirti di più - is now added this prayer: to desire internally and sincerely what God wants of me. 
As Francis de Sales also says: not enough to stop the action; you have to stop the root of the action. Like the man who is sick and cannot eat a particular food: he is just waiting to get well so that he might eat that food. His desire for that food is intact; it is only the circumstance that inhibits him. And perhaps Francis distinguishes acts, the habits from which the acts spring, and the deep attachments that underlie even the habits. 

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