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Showing posts with the label Detachment

The third mansions and preparing for Lent

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Are you ready to begin the season of Lent? What does Lent have to do with St. Teresa of Avila’s teaching about the third mansions in the interior castle?

Teresa offers us many images to aid our understanding of the interior life. First, she asks us to imagine the soul as a castle, with God the Divine King dwelling in the central room. Then she speaks of the first mansions as filled with reptiles. The second mansions are a battlefield. What of the third?
The person in the third mansions, she says, is like the rich young man of the Gospel. He has great desires. He wants to inherit eternal life. He even goes so far as to keep the commandments.

But, as we know, that wasn’t the end of the story.
Jesus said to him, ‘If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’
When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.” (Mt 19:21-22) This serves as a warning to all of us.
Conti…

Moderation and a Pythagorean Dribble Glass

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Today's second reading reminded me of Harold Camping's high-profile End Times predictions, a few years back....

...I've read that Hero of Alexandria used Pythagorean cups in his robotic systems. That's probably a reference to Heron's fountain, Heron is another version of Hero's name, and I am not going to wander off-topic again. Not for another paragraph or two, anyway.

Pythagoras of Samos didn't invent the Pythagorean theorem, but he's the first chap to show why it works - --

Let's try this again. It's one of those days.

A Pythagorean cup is a thinking person's dribble glass, sort of....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

The silence of detachment (Part 3 of 3)

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Two weeks ago I began a series on whether we should sit quietly during prayer. Part 1 talked about the false silence of Centering Prayer. Part 2 talked about Teresa of Avila’s teaching on prayer and silence. Today I’d like to talk briefly about the silence of detachment.

If we want God to enter our lives in a significant way, we must make room for Him. He never forces Himself on anyone. Counterfeit spiritual silence can exist alongside mortal sin. But sin is incompatible with union with God. The writer to the Hebrews urges us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb 12:1-2) Notice, we have two types of burdens to get ri…

The 7 Most Mindblowingly Liberating Things I've Learned By Being Catholic

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I finally figured out what matters. This is it.
(1) I do not need a happy ending in life.

The Meaning:Life isn't meant to be a fairy tale. Whether....
The Freedom:No matter how my life ends, ....
(2) How I feel about my life doesn't matter. 

The Meaning: Whether I think my life is going well or not is....
The Freedom: Less time wasted with pointlessly evaluating my life in....
(4) Even if I became a god or goddess, it wouldn't matter.

The Meaning: Having "personal power," or realizing the greatness in my soul in order....
The Freedom:Who cares who I am?...
"Lord, when we ask you for honors, income, money or worldly things, do not hear us."
-St. Teresa of Avila
(7) Never stop asking- "How Could I Do Better?" 

The Meaning:It doesn't matter...
The Freedom:This is the annoying part...

Here's the rest of this post: "The 7 Most Mindblowingly Liberating Things I've Learned As A Catholic," Laura Paxton, Carmel Heart.

What's the Little Way got to do with detachment?

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You can’t read the Carmelite saints for long without encountering the idea of detachment. We find it in the writings of John of the Cross, of Teresa of Avila, and even of St. Therese. Detachment for Catholics is not the same as mere  penance. Detachment, like the entire spiritual life, begins and ends with love.
St. John of the Cross is the master teacher about detachment. Here is his famous passage on detachment from The Ascent of Mount Carmel:
Endeavor to be inclined always:
not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
not to the most gratifying, but to the least pleasant;
not to what means rest for you, but to hard work;
not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling;
not to the most, but to the least;
not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised;
not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing. Do I detect a few sighs?
If we read this passage out of context, the spiritual life appears dry,…

The Transfiguration teaches us detachment

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Last week’s Gospel was about the Transfiguration of Jesus. As you recall, Jesus took Peter, James, and John up Mt. Tabor. Moses and Elijah appeared and spoke with Him about His coming Passion. Hearing the Gospel, I was struck by what it teaches us about detachment in the spiritual life.

Moses represents the Law. Elijah represents the Prophets. The Law and the Prophets together form the basis of the Old Testament.

From the good to the perfect When Peter saw Moses and Elijah, he said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here.” He suggested building booths or tents in which the three religious figures could stay. No doubt he wanted to speak with Moses and Elijah and hear their wisdom in person.

But this was not God’s plan. God the Father spoke to the Apostles from the cloud. Then they looked up and saw Jesus standing before them alone.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Pizza and disordered attachments

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On Sunday I made pizza for supper. Herbed crust, thick, garlicky sauce, uncured pepperoni, black olives, and two cheeses. Is your mouth watering yet? Is pizza among your disordered attachments?

As you may know, I’m focusing on being more truly detached from everything except God this year. Before you read the rest of this post, you may want to read or review these:
What is detachment in the Catholic spiritual life?Why is detachment necessary?How can you know what your spiritual attachments are?Why do you have inordinate attachments? I can’t work on every possible type of spiritual detachment at once. I have to slice it into small pieces. Here is an easy way I’m trying to start. Every time I experience pleasure or enjoyment, I am immediately turning my thoughts towards God.

As I’ve said before, we are not Puritans. We don’t reject the goodness in God’s creation. The world was damaged by Adam’s fall, but not destroyed.

Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Why do you have inordinate attachments?

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Have you discerned what you are too attached to? Are you ready to begin working on those inordinate attachments? Let’s take the first step together, by looking at the reasons we are attached to things other than God.
Why am I doing this?
This week I sent family members a copy of the family tree I created for my dad. Genealogy is a favorite hobby of mine. One relative emailed back that he was too bored with it even to finish the first page. “Can you explain to me why this interests you?” he asked. “I just don’t get it.”

We emailed back and forth a bit as I told him how I loved family and history. I still don’t think my answers satisfied him.

I would not have written about this, except that the genealogy bug hit me again. It’s been a while since I’ve looked at my mom’s family, I thought. I’ll just do a quick search to see if there’s anything new. Before long, I had spent all the time I should have been writing my book (and more) researching my ancestors. I began asking myself …

Are you living a contemplative life?

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Two Girls Praying, Emile Munier Are you a contemplative? Some people, faced with this question, would answer an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Perhaps they are saints, at a high stage of union with God. Or perhaps they practice Eastern (as in Hindu or Buddhist) forms of meditation that they equate with contemplation. Some would call themselves contemplative because they are thoughtful and quiet. The rest of us might answer, “No.” Since we are not saints, we wouldn’t dare think of ourselves as contemplatives in the proper sense.

Nevertheless, everyone, no matter his stage in the spiritual journey or his vocation, can live a contemplative life.
A contemplative life is a life ordered toward union with God If you have read The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila, you know Teresa divides the spiritual life into seven stages, which she called mansions.  (To be completely accurate, she says that a soul goes back and forth among these stages, rather than proceeding from one to the next in …

What is detachment in the Catholic spiritual life?

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Among Carmelite saints, John of the Cross, co-founder of the Discalced Carmelites with Teresa of Avila, is not the most popular. Why not? He insisted that detachment was necessary for holiness. Many Catholics, misunderstanding his teaching, think it too hard and too dull. On first reading his Ascent of Mt. Carmel, they might be tempted to settle for luke-warmness.

On the other hand, nearly everyone loves St. Therese of Lisieux. The irony is that Therese was a true daughter of John, embracing all that he taught. If we reject John, we implicitly reject Therese as well.

Misconceptions about attachment Let’s examine some of the misconceptions about detachment.

First of all, the detachment John of the Cross speaks of is not aloofness. We should have proper affection for our family and friends.  It’s nonsensical to be cold towards your spouse due to a supposed love for God.

Detachment doesn’t mean denying the good that is in the material world. Rather, it means viewing temporal go…