Could it be that the best way to become detached
is to have an overwhelming attachment to God?
It is not so much the possession of things that makes me attached; it
is the burden these things imposethe
fear of loss, the greed for more, the power they exert, the glitter that
is so bright for so short a time. All this puts me in a vicious circle
that is hard to change. The more I have, the more I want; the more I want,
the more anxious I become and everyday my mind and soul are absorbed in a
complex web too tight to break through.
The visible reality brings a degree of happiness, but not peace; it
gives' a glow but not a light; it gives security but never assurance; it
promotes love based on service, but never feeds the love that is based on
Is detachment the answer to freedom? No, because detachment is negativeit
is to be without. The answer must be positiveI
must replace what I have with something better. The things that occupy my
mind and are contrary to the Divine Will are the things that exercise the
greatest power over my soul.
I must rise above the things that pass by seeing God in them. The
essence of attachment is to possess, to hang on to, and yet everything is
passing. Why should I put my heart in anything that is here today and gone
Where, my soul, is the balance between compassion and detachment,
providing for today and not being anxious for tomorrow, having things and
not possessing them, deeply caring and being unselfish? The balance is a
deep and strong love for God. All lesser loves fall away in the presence
of a great Loveand here is the balance and the answer to detachment:
Supernatural Love is free and unattached because it is based on an
unseen Reality; it is sure because that Reality is eternal; it is strong
because it is fed by God Himself; it can possess things without being
possessed by them; it can love people and be content if that love is not
returned; it can give and give and never run dry.
It is then, a matter of preference and priorities and first things
first. It is not a matter of having or not having, of being rich or poor,
a success or failure. It is putting God and His Kingdom FIRST, FOREMOST
and ALWAYS, knowing that all these other things will be added.
The secret to real freedom is to prefer God to everything and to do
everything for God.
THE LOWEST PLACE
The word "humility" is misunderstood by most people and despised by
others. It does not mean making oneself a doormat. Jesus told us to learn
from Him how to be meek and humble of heart. We must look at His life if
we are to have any concept of what humility is all about.
Christ took the form of a servant but He never ceased to be the Master;
He took the lowest place but was always the Leader; He was meek when
accused unjustly, but strong enough to call men hypocrites when He had to;
He cured the blind and then told them not to tell anyone; He felt the
jealousy and hatred of His enemies but never lost His serenity; He was
afraid in the Garden of Gethsemane, but did what He had to do; He suffered
unheard of torments and asked forgiveness for His executioners; He felt
abandoned but commended His soul to His Father. This is how He was humble.
Humility is-to know my place before God and to be grateful and to take
my place before men with lowliness.
When I deny myself, what am I really doing? The power of my will is so
strong that I can say "no" even to God. Although it is a spiritual
faculty, the will needs exercise in order to
strengthen itself-just as a muscle needs exercise to keep its tone. Misuse
and no-use mean death to both physical and spiritual faculties. Every time
I say "no" to a small temptation, I strengthen my will to say "no" to a
greater one. The more my will is turned toward God, the greater will be my
union with His Son.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF SELF-DENIAL
Love is increased when I refrain from speaking of my neighbor's faults.
Patience grows when I listen to a boring account of a friend's neurosis.
Temperance becomes stronger when I use moderation.
Justice is sweetened when I put myself in my neighbor's shoes and forgive
his offenses. Gentleness gives me more control when the opportunity to
lose my temper is squelched. Humility is preserved when I give credit
where credit is dueto
Prudence becomes easy when I forget myself and look for the good of
Fortitude is strengthened when I accept pain and suffering with
THE CALL TO HOLINESS
God alone is holy and good and I find myself in the same position as
St. Paul when he said that the things he wanted to do, he did not do and
the things he didn't want to do, he did. This proves that Paul was an
ordinary man with a mission from God. I too have a missionto
cooperate with the working of the Holy Spirit by developing the seed of
holiness (grace), planted in my soul by Baptism. The essence of holiness
is not doing great things, but in doing ordinary things with great love
for God and neighbor.
A TIME OF DECISION
It is difficult to lead a Christian life today. The world has so much
to offer and even though I find only emptiness, there are so many things
waiting to fill the vacuum in my soul that God doesn't seem to have a
chance and then, one day, through the prayer of a friend, a sermon, a bookmy
life begins to have meaning and Jesus becomes real and alive in my soul. A
whole new world opens up. I see the Hand of Jesus and His love in many
places and suddenly I realize the things that held me in such bondage
before have lost their meaning.
I seem alone in the midst of crowds. The things of the past no longer
interest me and I cannot see the future. It is the time of decision. The
seed has fallen to the ground and begun to germinate. The Lord and the
world wait with expectation. The best way to make any decision is to face
it head-on and weigh all the pros and cons.
PRO If I choose the Lord, I will have joy and pain, but His strength
will uphold me and the reward is eternal.
CON If I choose the world, there may be happiness here and there, but
the pain will make me bitter and the reward is passing.
PRO If I spend some time each day in prayer, Scripture reading and an
effort to see His love in everything, I will arrive at peace of soul and
joy of heart.
CON If I choose to fill my day with gossip, hours of television and fun
and games, my day will be empty and my life more and more shallow.
PRO The Love and joy that come from Jesus in my soul will radiate to my
neighbor and give him hope in times of despair.
CON My best friends may think my new-found love is a threat to their
lives and turn away from me.
PRO In my business associations I will see I things and make decisions
by Christian principles, giving fair wages, being honest and unprejudiced
in dealing with employees - and thereby witness to my love for Jesus.
CON I may possibly bring down upon myself the ridicule of my partners
and associates and be accounted as a fool and unrealistic for living by
Before I make a final decision I must look at the Lord. Jesus chose me
by accepting the opposition and ridicule of the majority as part of my
He didn't mind being considered a fool because He knew this was part of
the price He had to pay so I might enter the Kingdom.
He was happy to have a few friends accept Him as He was rather than
accept the applause of the crowds who cried aloud, "Hosanna to the Son of
He was brave enough to suffer the loss of all things, knowing that
someday I would be asked to give up a few things.
My new life then, as a Christian, is a matter of choices. Everyday
there are opportunities to choose the Lord and I can do this without fuss
and fanfare. My neighbor must not be made to feel that, now that I have
found the Lord, he is not good enough for me.
The first Christians attracted pagans, not by quoting Scripture, but by
having joy in the Lord in every circumstance, by love for everyone
especially enemies, by breaking bread together, praying together, singing
in their hearts and having a beautiful assurance that Jesus is the Lord.
They made Christianity so attractive that people flocked to join them.
The time for choosing has arrived.
I CHOOSE THE LORD
THE LIFE TO COME
I know that life is a pilgrimage, a testing ground and a time for
growth. I must be aware of two realitiesthe
visible that I can see and the invisible that I cannot see. My whole life
must be geared toward a perfect harmony between these two realities.
If I look at only the visible and ignore the spiritual, I am a fool; if
I see only the spiritual and ignore the visible, I am unreal. Now that I
have made my choice I must maintain a balance between these two forces in
I have seen what I must do and what rewards I will have in this lifebut
what of the next?
God Himself will wipe away every tear from my eyes and sorrow will be
There will be no disappointment, failure or separation in the Kingdom.
Everyone without exception will love me and I will love them in return.
I will constantly learn new mysteries about God that will enlighten my
soul and make it experience untold delights. I will never again feel fear,
distrust or angeronly
security, assurance and perfect peace. I will know the reason behind every
pain and heartache during my earthly sojourn and I will exclaim, "How
great Thou artto
give so much for so little."
BACK TO EARTH
It often happens that after I have chosen to follow the Lord I suddenly
feel a strange emptiness and a distaste for anything spiritual. I wonder
what's wrong? Have I displeased the Lord? Has He withdrawn His Presence
because of my unworthiness?
No-if I am sincerely trying to do His Will and love my neighbor, I know
this dryness is for my good. The Lord is purifying my soul of all
selfishness so I may love Him for Himself alone. I will consider how I may
grow strong in Faith, Hope and Love so the reflection of Jesus in my soul
will become brighter and glorify my Father.
FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE
These three infused supernatural virtues, given to me at Baptism, are
interwoven in my life like the petals of a flower. Faith tells me that
what I believe in is true; Hope tells me the One I believe in is faithful;
Love tells me the One I believe in is mine.
FAITH is the virtue of the threshold; it makes me see in darkness now
what I shall see by vision in eternity.
HOPE is the virtue of the road; it assures me that I posses NOW what I
shall possess in eternity.
LOVE is the virtue of the goal; it permits me to experience NOW what I
shall delight in for all eternity.
WHAT IS FAITH
an encounter in love between myself and God. a constant giving on God's
part and a loving acceptance on mine.
a prevention against being complacent and a means of reaching for the
invisible. believing what God has revealed just because He revealed it and
being content with the mystery I do not understand. believing that God is
Love and that somehow everything tends to good for those who love Him.
HOW TO GROW IN FAITH
I will thank God for the Gift of Faith and pray every day for an
increase of this virtue which puts me in such loving contact with God. I
will read Scripture and other books designed to increase my Faith and
teach me how to see God around me and within me.
I will be careful not to bring the Wisdom of God down to my own level
by refusing to believe those truths of Faith beyond my comprehension.
WHAT IS HOPE?
Hope tells me that God not only wants me to be with Him in Heaven, but
that He longs to live in intimate union with me NOW.
Hope tells me that God takes His delight in making me holy, especially
when He has so little to work with.
Hope prevents me from being presumptuous or rash by thinking no effort
on my part is needed to avoid sin.
Hope prevents me from being discouraged when I fall for I hope with
certainty that God will do for me what my efforts alone can never do-make
HOW TO GROW IN HOPE
I know that God is Infinite Mercy and Infinite Justice, but if these
two concepts are not harmonized perfectly by Hope, I run the risk of
presuming on His Mercy by committing sin or despairing after sin by
realizing His Justice.
Hope is an equalizer, a balancer, a harmonizer. It harmonizes these two
attributes of Mercy and Justice in my life by giving me a childlike
relationship with God as Father. This relationship bestows upon me courage
to resist temptation out of love.
Faith and Hope are so interwoven that at times Faith is a certainty
that gives me assurance, and Hope is an assurance that gives me certainty.
WHAT IS LOVE?
Love is a tendency of the soul towards good, and so it means many
things to many people, but when the good I seek is only perceived by
Faith, that Love is supernatural-it is Christian Love. It is a gift given
to me at Baptism, and one I must grow in every moment of my life.
HOW DID JESUS LOVE ME?
He left all of Heaven to come down and teach me by word and example how
to live. I am more valuable to Him than all of creation.
I WILL LOVE MY NEIGHBOR AS JESUS LOVES ME BY
Loving him as he is,
being patient with his sins, realizing I have a beam in my own eye,
making it easy for those who have offended me to ask forgiveness and
assuring them all is forgotten,
weeping with those who weep and laughing with those who laugh.
Lord God and Father, You are Love; Your Son showed me Your Love and
Your Spirit gave me Your Love. Grant me the grace I need to be love, to
show Love and to give Love to my neighbor in the same way You have given
Yourself to me. Amen.
The author prays that all those who read this booklet will have a
deeper awareness of the Father's Mercy, the Son's Love and the Spirit's
Printed with the ecclesiastical approval of
JOSEPH G. VATH, D.D.
Bishop of Birmingham
©1976 Eternal Word Television Network, Inc.
Scripture Quotations taken from Jerusalem Bible unless otherwise