Pearls of the Word

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by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"You ask and do not receive, because you ask for the wrong things, with the aim of satisfying your passions [hedone]" (James 4:3).

The Greek word hedone means sensual pleasure, moral pleasure, enjoyment, desire. It gave birth to the word 'hedonism'. It is a doctrine which makes the search for pleasure the basis of morality. When the motivation for our prayers is hedonistic, God cannot respond to them.

James compares hedonism with adultery, for worldly love (love of self, which is to say, our own flesh) goes against God’s wishes (James 4:4). But this is not its only consequence, for hedonism brings dissension into the Body of Christ and causes quarrels (James 4:1). And it is this same hedonism that prevents the fruit of our life from reaching maturity.