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30. Concupiscence

1. Concupiscence is a strong tendency or appetite arising in the sensitive part of man. As we have seen, concupiscence can be admitted by the will to the intellective part of man, and thus may sway the judgment of intellect and the decision of will. Therefore we say that concupiscence can influence reason.

2. Concupiscence is caused by love, and it tends to pleasure or joy. It is a passion specifically distinct from its cause (love) and from its end (joy); it is the specific passion called desire.

3. Men and animals have certain strong and necessary desires - for life, for food, for drink, for propagation; these are forms of natural concupiscence. Only man, among earthly creatures, may have desire for things beyond natural needs - for fame, wealth, promotion, entertainment, modish attire, etc. Such desires are forms of nonnatural concupiscence; this is sometimes called rational concupiscence, since it is proper to man who is the only rational animal. When strong or disordered, nonnatural concupiscence (especially with reference to wealth) is called cupidity.

4. Natural concupiscence is finite; nonnatural concupiscence can be indefinite or potentially infinite. Thus a man may aspire to unlimited fame or power. But no man desires limitless supplies of food and drink; he desires merely ample supplies.

"To do God's will -- this was the goal upon which the saints constantly fixed their gaze. They were fully persuaded that in this consists the entire perfection of the soul. "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not to look ahead where eternal joy abides. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"A single act of uniformity with the divine will suffices to make a saint."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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