Passion, derives from the Latin word Passio. When we think of the word passion we think of either romantic, sensual passion as between lovers or we think of the Passion of Christ. (At least I do.) Centuries ago, the word passion was made to describe the suffering and woe, the enduring, physical affliction…of life. Do you want a passionate life? I do not mean in a General Hospital-Fabio-Harlequin-Danielle Steele-bodice ripping kind of romance. I mean a life full and rich with passion. To live passionately, you must accept the AFFLICTION of passion. Passion is felt viscerally. It is suffering. Whoever has walked the Stations of the Cross during Lent, may (and should) have an inkling of the Passion of Christ. When I saw Mel Gibson’s movie…..I was so torn…not only about Christ’s suffering, but Mary’s suffering. Her son, her creation…suffering but innocent. What parent who has hovered desperate beside a sick child’s hospital bed, cannot recognize their suffering. It hurts on a visceral level, it hurts into your bones. THAT IS PASSION. Passion is felt. It is not mellow or sweet. It is not for the faint of heart. Passion is fierce and bold and unpredictable.

It takes courage to live passionately. To wake in the morning and step into the world and be passionate requires determination. You say your prayers, not from rote but with fervor. The simplest of prayers can make you weep when you FEEL the passion of God’s love for you. Life can be mechanical. Modern life encourages numbness and distraction. Modern living seduces us away from the true passion of living. It is an easy existence. Bland, dull but expecting very little. A passionless life will not break your bones or your heart. A passionless faith will not force you desperately to your knees, begging for understanding, protection, forgiveness or absolution. A passionless heart escapes sorrow but also misses beauty.

Living passionately does not mean your are fearless. It means you recognize that fear is part of it. It is one more thing you must feel. The yin and yang of a full emotional spectrum. Happy vs. sad. Joy vs. sorrow. Betrayal vs. security.  You cannot have ONLY one side of the pairing. To be fulfilled there are times I must accept feeling aching emptiness. If I accept the life I have been given and step wide eyed into my existence, I accept the Promise to live passionately. It is not lukewarm. A true life is not a tepid life. It is a tempest. A rollercoaster. An odyssey. Often, we get plopped down in a desert for 40 days or 40 years, wandering. We ask for pity, we ask for sympathy, we beg for relief, we shake our fist and get angry, asking “Why me?”. Coming out of the desert is simple. It only takes reconciliation in our heart of heart. And an acceptance to live this life Right. I might not understand why I wandered so long….actually I wander because I am a stubborn, block-head that cannot listen….but I now see the value of wandering.

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