Passion: A Real Pain

Posted on February 29, 2012. Filed under: language, Religion | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Passion.  Just what does that word mean?  I’ve heard it used all my life;  until recently, not a lot, but enough to get a feel for its meaning.  In my really early years, it was just a word that conveyed some sort of meaning that eluded me, such as the thread at the top of a New Testament page (Holy Bible, KJV) that read “The Passion of the Christ: in reference to The Crucifiction.  Imagine my confusion later when I realized the word was most often used in association with a heightened awareness of sexual attraction, lust, greed, et cetera.  Over time, my perception of the word’s meaning has elongated a bit to become “a very strong feeling about a person, thing, or activity.:  While that is a more relaxed perception than my earliest one, it still did not sit well with “passion of the Christ.”  What to do?  I KNOW!  Look it up in the dictionary…   finally.

Aha!  Mystery solved.  Passion, in year 1175, meant “suffering”  or “to suffer.”  Scribes/translators of the Bible used “Passion of the Christ” as a sub-title in organizing the Christian narrative.  But, how did we get from “suffering” to “intense interest in?”

In the case of The Christ, passion meant unspeakable emotional and physical agony.  This passion was a one-time, acute, fixed point in His earthly sojourn.  His commitment was to meet, then pass through that crescendo of suffering for the betterment of humankind.

This agony does not have to be physical.  As part of the crucifixion drama, the Christ also endured a night of great emotional suffering.  In similar fashion, a person engulfed by an intense and personal struggle (whether for unrequited love or social conscience) may well experience great agony and suffering.  This internal state would aptly, then, be a state of passion.  Crimes committed to sate an intense emotional state, often violently, fit into this “suffering” category and could be referred to as crimes of passion.  So, originally, passion referred to severe angst over an immanent decision, event, or situation that the person had to unwillingly either make or endure.

Next up:  I’m not sure, but hang in there and we’ll pin down this passion thing.

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