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22. The Subject of the Passions of the Soul

1. The subject of a thing is that in which the thing resides or occurs. We inquire here about the subject of the passions of the soul. We ask whether these passions really reside in the soul itself. Now, since the soul is the substantial form of a man and so makes him exist as a human being, the soul can be called, fundamentally, the subject of all that pertains to human nature. Since man is the subject of the passions, the soul is the subject of the passions. In another aspect of the matter, we may say that whatever exercises an influence upon the powers or faculties of the soul, belongs to the soul as to its subject. In this sense, too, the soul is the subject of the passions.

2. The passions of the soul belong to the realm of tendency and desire rather than to the realm of knowledge. Passions presuppose knowledge and follow upon it; but they are in the appetitive order, not the knowing order.

3. And, strictly speaking, the passions of the soul belong to the sensitive order, the order of the bodily faculties. Yet the influence of these passions is so readily admitted by the will into the intellective order (the order of the spiritual faculties of the soul), that there is justification for the name of "passions of the soul." Strictly then, the proper subject of the passions of the soul is the sensitive part of man; by justified extension of the phrase of the soul, these same passions are ascribed to the soul itself as their subject, though not their proper subject.

"If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will. Reflect that all the sins of your past wicked life happened because you wandered from the path of God's will. For the future, embrace God's good pleasure and say to him in every happening: "Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in thy sight." "
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"The one thing necessary which Jesus spoke of to Martha and Mary consists in hearing the word of God and living by it."
R. Garrigou-Lagrange, OP

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"A man should keep himself down, and not busy himself in mirabilibus super se."
St Philip Neri

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