The word “passion” can mean different things to different people and at different times. The first time I remember pondering “passion” was while working in Puerto Rico. The man that ran the cafeteria at the center I was working at had juice every morning, that he called “parcha.” When I asked what that was, he explained it was passion fruit, from his yard. I found it strange that a fruit was named “passion.”
And many times I have heard “passion” used to describe amorous desire or love, and other times to describe other strong or powerful emotions, such as anger. Sometimes it indeed is used for romantic love, but other times “passion” refers more specifically to pure sexual desire or lust, with little relation to romantic love. Many would say that the opposite of love is hate. But I disagree. Both love and hate involve passion, and the focusing of attention on a specific object. To me, the opposite of love is apathy. With apathy, the person does not care, is not focused on the object at all, and has a complete lack of passion towards the object.
This contrast of apathy with passion is for me the key to understanding “passion” as I usually think of it these days. For me, passion is enthusiasm, a driving force, something positive, produces a positive attitude which motivates and drives you. But drives you to what? Well, I think it drives you to serve energetically, to be a good servant, to invest your time, energy, emotions, even money. And to do so for those you have relationships with: spouse, parents, children, friends, employer, and God.
I shared with a coworker that I appreciated her positive attitude and enthusiasm. She shared with me that providing support, and interacting with those she supports, is one of the most enjoyable parts of her job. She also said that it can be difficult maintaining a positive or cheerful attitude when many around you don’t have that same outlook. This woman has found that people cooperate when they are treated kindly, and she truly enjoys helping others. This can all be summed up by saying here is a woman who has a passion for serving, a passion I would say surpasses Good Passion to be Better Passion.
Well, I say that to have Good Love, you must have Good Passion. More importantly, to have Better Love, you must have Better Passion, you must be even more enthusiastic about serving and sharing. What do you have a passion for? Can you turn your Good Passion into Better Passion? And what is the origin of the word “passion,” and why do they call it passion fruit?
In ancient Greek, the word passion comes from meant to endure or suffer, and an intense feeling of want or desire. In ancient Latin, it meant to suffer, and came to mean the specific suffering of Christ. Our word in English came from the Old French, and meant suffering, specifically of Christ, until the 16th century, when it began to be used in the modern sense of strength of feelings or emotions.
The picture at the beginning of today’s post is the flower and the fruit of the passion fruit. It was given that name because the corona threads were thought to represent Christ’s crown of thorns, the five stamens represent Christ’s wounds, the five petals and five sepals represent the ten apostles (excluding Judas and Peter), and the three stigmas represent the nails through Christ’s hands and feet on the cross.
So for a long time, passion meant the suffering of Christ before his crucifixion, and the word can be found with that use in Acts 1:3. But for me the Best Passion of Christ is the act of Best Love he demonstrated to us 2000 years ago: This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. (I John 3:16)