Passions are our inner wounds, those deep marks in the space of our heart that require healing. In the mind of the desert elders, this means that those passions need to be attended to and tended. If we are going to be a healing presence in the world, then we need to comprehend our passions.
The Desert Fathers and Mothers recognized that it takes a long time to become a human being. It takes an infinitely patient waiting to put together all the variegated parts of the human heart. Moreover, in the unnoticeable changes toward ever-growing perfection, it is the things that we love that reveal to us who we are. It is the things to which we are most attached that show us where our priorities lie. It is our very imperfections—what they like to call passions, and what we invariably call our wounds—that lead us to the way of perfection.