Choose a topic from Part 2A:

41. Fear

1. Fear is an irascible passion. Like all passions it is fundamentally in the sensitive order, but may rise into the intellective order, and influence intellect and will; thus we say it influences reason. Fear, thus admitted to the intellective order, is a trepidation of mind and a troublesome indecision of will in the face of impending evil, that is, of danger. Fear is a kind of shrinking back from an evil which seems difficult, yet possible, to avoid or overcome. In a word, fear is agitation caused by impending evil.

2. Fear is not a general condition affecting all the passions; it is a special passion. The object of fear is an evil that is future, threatening, and apparently hard and even well-nigh impossible to avoid or overcome.

3. Fear is found in human beings and in animals; it can in no wise affect plants and lifeless things. Fear is called natural when it is a shrinking from what conflicts with normal tendencies; such is the fear of death, or the fear of pain. Fear is nonnatural or rationalized if it is a shrinking from an evil that only the mind can grasp; such is thefear, for example, of failing in an examination, or the fear of loss of good name when one is the victim of compromising circumstances.

4. Fear has various forms. Laziness fears the trouble of toil. Shame-facedness dreads the doing of a disgraceful thing. Shame fears the disgrace of a thing already done. Amazement shrinks from the enormity of impending evil. Stupefaction dreads great and altogether unusual evils impending. Anxiety dreads possible evils, not distinctly foreseen.

"This is the greatest wisdom -- to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the world. "
Thomas á Kempis

* * *

"God commands not impossibilities, but by commanding he suggests to you to do what you can, to ask for what is beyond your strength; and he helps you, that you may be able."
St Augustine

* * *

"He who wishes to be perfectly obeyed, should give but few orders."
St Philip Neri

* * *