Obsessions and passions

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People talk a lot about being “obsessed” about something. They are so “into it” that they are consumed by it. I’ve seen this in the kids when they do those promotions at the supermarket at which you can collect items depending on your spend, and the kids seem obsessed with getting every single one. Obsessions can come and then go again. They seem so urgent and important and consuming at the time, but then it wears off or dries up, and you move to the next thing. I see people with passions too, and this can drive people in a positive way to achieve a goal and work hard to gain or achieve something. 

I feel many have lost our obsession and passion for Jesus, for the true authentic Jesus Christ. He is there waiting for us, but he’s not always tangible or palpable, so it doesn’t feel urgent. It takes work to keep your obsession or your passion for the supernatural. We are here to glorify Jesus, spread the Gospel and prepare our souls for heaven. Are you obsessed with achieving these goals? Are you passionate about evangelising? 

Jesus loved us with passion. You could see his passion for God the Father spill over in anger when the temple was used as a market, when it was the house of God. We saw his passion when he survived 40 days and nights in the desert; that takes a lot of resolve and discipline. His crucifixion is called the Passion of Christ, as he gave his all for us, both physically and spiritually in his death. We don’t always return that same level of fervour and passion. I remember hearing about how common it is to be lukewarm about Christ 

Society today certainly doesn’t help us be passionate, at least outwardly, about our faith. We can be shunned, excluded, embarrassed, ashamed and feel guilt for what we have or haven’t done, and for what our Church has or hasn’t done. We see people all around us who are secular and have no faith and who, by society’s standards, are thriving. For some people, their passions and obsessions have led to excessive money, power, status, material goods, and they seem to be living the good life, the high life, the fun life.  

I love Psalm 139, which tells us that God knew us before we were born and knitted us together in the womb. It speaks to me of a deeply personal and intimate love — one full of passion. God is passionate that each and every one of us knows him and loves him and loves one another as Jesus taught us. But it isn’t easy, it’s very hard for many of us to do that. It is hard to sustain obsession and passion consistently over a long period of time. Some people are more consistent and disciplined, and habits play a big part in shaping us, and how we interact with the world.  

Let’s think and talk about ways we can inject more passion and get more obsession around our faith and our Church communities. It starts with each of us and our families. How can we show passion about our faith? Going to Church isn’t a drag or a chore or something we just “have to do”.  

In our family, we have had a bad run of colds, coughs, sneezes and a broken knee in the house, and haven’t been able to go as a family to Church for what feels like forever. We are back on now, and are doing it because we want to, because we feel that passion to share in the Eucharist. We want to try to show and share that passion, and let it grow in the children. This is in the hope that it will sustain them and always keep them coming back to Mass in the years ahead. 

John 3:16; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” 

 Helen Luxford is a physician, working part-time. She is a parishioner of St Michael’s, Remuera. Together with her husband Michael, they are raising their children in the Catholic Faith and reflecting on the challenges and joys that brings. 

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Helen Luxford