Passionate Detachment

Even in spirituality, the word "detachment" makes us think of feeling diffident and rather uninterested. In a word, "detached." But this feeling is not the true experience of spiritual detachment.

We understand better if we begin identifying the things and people and experiences we are passionate about. Start with the activities you really enjoy, that are habitual, that you are really attached to – say, Friday beers with friends, or a Saturday hike in the mountains, or daily aerobic exercising. Now imagine a situation in which you see clearly that you will have to choose between doing what you love and giving some routine care to your elderly parents. Which? If you remain as passionate about your attachment but go and do what love and  honor of parents requires – then you are passionately detached.

There you have it.  You are passionate about partying or hiking, but you will not let your passionate delight -- your passionate attachment -- stand in the way of praising, loving, and serving Christ Jesus our God in this particular moment. That decision to let no good thing that you love stand between you and God whom you love is what we mean by passionate detachment.

Do it again (real case). You are well married and have children in their early twenties. You find yourself falling in love with a colleague. Your know the deep gratification of being truly in love - you have been for years, though the early excitement of it has faded with diapers, teen age, work routine, and simple tedium. So you have a choice. Do you maintain a passionate detachment toward the deeply human experience of new love, or do you attach your life to a new star that twinkles with a light other than Christ's?

And again. You love golf. It's Sunday, and either Mass with the family or golf with friends. Which is it?  You do not despise either golf or your love for it when you choose Mass.  Again: You love scotch, a lot. You are put on some antibiotics which alcohol interferes with. Now it's either dealing prudently with your physical self or enjoying the scotch you love. You won't love the scotch any less as you refrain from it for a while. But if you drink water for the time being, you'll love God more.

That is detachment - passionate detachment. Have this attitude and you’ll live at peace in Christ. Without it, you are going to make some mistaken decisions. And amazingly insignificant attachments can derail some really serious choices. Be passionate – passionately detached.