Triple Concupiscence

Responding to 1 John 2:16, Pope Paul VI produced the “Paenitemini” wherein Augustine’s diagnosis of sin’s center—affections and desires—were given a threefold order called “Triple Concupiscence,” wherein all sin stems from one or more of the following affections and desires:

  1. The concupiscence of the flesh
  2. The concupiscence of the eyes
  3. The pride of life

While attributed to many, the Paenitemini seems to exact most of its study of Triple Concupiscence from French theologian and friar Réginald Marie Garrigou-Lagrange, who in his magnus opus introducing the profundities of eternal life, published the following distinctions for each desire in the trifecta:

  1. Harmony between soul and body
  2. Harmony between God and soul
  3. Harmony between body and the world

Whereas Pope Paul VI seemed to take a more pragmatic view of Triple Concupiscence, Garrigou-Lagrange leaned heavily on Augustine’s “triplex cupiditas,” wherein each of the affections or desires summarizes an intrinsic and existential need for harmony, wherein one’s desires are at peace with the self, God, and the world. Each of these affections are also found in one of the three types of soil that Jesus presents in the parable of the seed and sower, wherein the “good” soil is a soul that has found threefold harmony. For this reason, the second section of SOIL attempts to exposit the self, entering into the disordered affections at the root of stricken souls suffering from an absence of flourishing.

Tilling the Soil

Using Matthew’s account of the parable and Jesus’ explanation afterward, the following paradigms are presented by the tool, along with reflection points and questions, to aid participants in expositing their own selves in response to completing a Sin Paradigm chart for a recurring, sinful behavior: