Sunday, June 26, 2011

Holy Detachment

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and decay destroy, and thieves break in and steal. But store up treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there also is your heart.” Matthew 6: 19-21

The sixth gift of the Spirit we receive in Baptism and Confirmation is the gift of Piety. What do you think of when hear this word? I think we often miss the beauty of this gift because when we heard this word we think “pious” and when we think of people we consider pious we tend to have a negative reaction. Right or wrong, I think we judge people who seem to be a little too outwardly “religious” as trying to show-off, or be better than us or as maybe trying to overcompensate for some big hidden sin by publicly being holy. Are you guilty of these thoughts? I know I am.

But the truth about this gift is that is has to do much more with our interior life than with our exterior life. I like to refer to it as “Holy Detachment”. The idea of detachment as a spiritual practice or attitude is not talked about much these days, but it is so important. It basically helps us to keep our eyes on heaven and not get so absorbed in this life that we begin to make this life and the things in this world our god. How can this happen?

Let’s face it: this world is good! God created it and He said it was good. And He has given us many things in this earth for our happiness and pleasure. But the things of this earth are really just the hors d’oeuvres compared to the wedding banquet of the Lamb in heaven. And just like at a real wedding reception, if we were to fill-up too much on the appetizers, not only would we not be hungry for the main meal, but we might even be disgusted by it because we are so full. It would be easy to get filled-up and distracted by all the good things of this earth if our hearts are not detached from them.

God has given us these things to use in this life and to help point us towards the eternal happiness of heaven. They are supposed to be arrows pointing us to a greater and lasting fulfillment, not become our destination. If we become too attached to them in our hearts, if we seek our happiness and peace in this world, then we might miss out on heaven. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that the things we can see, taste, smell, hear and touch are the most real things of our existence, but we were created for MORE! It is easy to think that this life is all there is and we should try to use as much of it as we can for our own selfish pleasure. But in allowing ourselves to become attached to this world, we risk forfeiting the next.

With this gift of Holy Detachment, our eyes will be fixed on heaven and we will see things with eternal vision. We will use the things of this earth for our journey and we will be grateful to God for them and the happiness and pleasure they bring, without sacrificing our eternal home for things that are passing.

Dear Jesus, I want to see things as You see them. Help my heart to stay detached from the good things of this earth so that I will always desire the eternal happiness and fulfillment of heaven. Amen.

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