Detachment: With Your Whole Heart

Over on Maria Lectrix, I'm reading The Ascent of Mount Carmel, and before Lent, I did The Imitation of Christ and St. Catherine of Siena's Dialogue. Meanwhile, EWTN Radio's Deep in Scripture Bible study show's been discussing the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes. Heck, Enbrethiliel's been chatting about a few things.
What subject keeps coming up? Detachment.

Detachment gets discussed in lots of scary-sounding ways, like "you shouldn't love anybody or anything else but God" or "everything except God is infinitely bad and ugly".

But really, the truth of the matter is that detachment is just putting on the attitude and point of view of someone before the Fall. Someone who sees the world like a child — full of wonders, but impossible to get grabby about. Everything is a wonderful toy, and everyone is a wonderful person to love. But God is the One who loves you most, whom you most love, and why you love everyone and everything else. When God calls you to walk with him, you drop your toys and go.

The problem is that we aren't unfallen people and we don't live in an unfallen world. So behaving and feeling the way we were meant to do is painful for us. (Speaking as someone about as detached as a dog on a chain.)

So that's what detachment means. It doesn't mean that Creation is bad. It means that anything you really love about any thing or person or creature is really God in them. Seeing that, you should love them and praise God for them, but not cling to them or obsess about them. God is the only One you can really cling to, anyway.

And if that doesn't work, you take radical measures. A lot of these books are all about radical measures, because a lot of times the gentler way of thinking about it doesn't make people jump to it. But you'd have perfect detachment if you just followed Jesus: "You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart and your whole mind and your whole strength." "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Detachment: With Your Whole Heart

  1. Dear Banshee,

    Would you mind putting Maria Lectrix in your side column? I saw your reference to St. John of the Cross, and I check Maria Lectrix less often than here, so I’ll have to track back to my place and then over to your other.

    Sorry for imposing, and maybe I just missed it in the blogroll. I just like to get around your world. You do such interesting stuff.

    shalom,

    Steven

  2. Maureen

    Your wish is my command.

  3. Joy

    In Bible study last Sunday, we were discussing 1 Peter and being strangers in the world and I brought up your image of the toys. It really is a very apt way of putting it.

    I thought of my own. When I’m in my own house, I relax and snuggle down. OTOH, when I’m in the house of someone I don’t know well, I’m sitting up straight and keeping one eye on the clock. :)

    We can’t get too comfortable in this world. The visit is a short one.

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