Category Archives: detachment

Holy indifference

In his spiritual exercises St. Ignatius Loyola present his first principles and foundation. In one translation – excuse the non-inclusive language – it reads:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord,
and by this means to save his soul.
The other things on the face of the earth are created for man
to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.
Hence, man is to make use of them
in so far as they help him in the attainment of his end,
and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.
Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things,
as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition.
Consequently, as far as we are concerned,
we should not prefer health to sickness,
riches to poverty,
honor to dishonor,
a long life to a short life.
The same holds for all other things.
Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive
to the end for which we are created.

Today I returned from a visit to Tegucigalpa. Our bishop in Santa Rosa, Monseñor Darwin Rudy Andino, had asked me to come with him to speak with Monseñor Juan José Pineda about something our bishop is proposing for me.

I went with a deep sense of what might best be called detachment.

I knew that what we would talk about might influence my future ministry.

Our bishop has proposed something that would possibly make my ministry more official and sacramental. But I felt a real holy indifference to what might result. What our bishop is proposing is something that I had not sought, but I am willing to pursue.

Monseñor Pineda was very welcoming – hugging everyone. I was surprised. But he is also very professional, being a canon lawyer. I appreciated his clarity and his straightforward approach.

I don’t think the meeting went as our bishop had hoped. I also shared a bit of our bishop’s hope. But I felt a great peace during the meeting and afterwards.

Where this will go, I do not know.

But I pray that God continues to grace me with the gift of holy indifference, holy detachment. But I also ask the grace to respond whole-heartedly to what God wants for me

So far it has been a great blessing.

Detachment, living in the now, and following the call

This morning I work up about 4 am and heard people talking near my house. I thought it was rather strange but went back to sleep since I had planned to sleep in this morning.

I finally got up at about 6:15 and noted the presence of a good number of people at the corner by the school. I saw my neighbor Juan and asked him why. He told me to come over.

I went over and discovered that his mother, in her early seventies, had died yesterday. I found out later that she had been in the hospital for a week. Last night they held a vigil in the home, as is the custom here.

I went and prayed at the coffin in the main room of the house and greeted those gathered in the kitchen and outside – many of the Doña Victoria’s children.

When I returned to my house, I grabbed a coffee and prayed my morning prayer.

Today’s second reading – 1 Corinthians 7; 29-31 – is not an easy reading. “The time (ό καιρός) is running out… the world in its present form is passing away.” Those who are weeping should live as if not weeping, those laughing as though not laughing – and so on.

But a sentence in Daily Gospel 2015 opened my heart:

…our time is too short and we need to use it well. Our life is valuable and we cannot just spoil or ignore the call of God.

Reflecting a little more I began to see this passage of Paul as a call to detachment – or, as St. Ignatius Loyola puts it, indifference. In the Spiritual Exercises, 23, he writes:

…it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things … in such a way that, for our part, we not seek health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, a long life rather than a short one, and so on in all other matters, wanting and choosing only that which leads more to the end for which we are created.

Detachment from all things can open us to respond to the call of God at any moment, even at the moment of our deaths. Indeed, I’d suggest that detachment can free us to die.

This afternoon Padre German will come to celebrate Mass for Doña Victoria who followed the Lord in her daily life, often participating in a base community in her house.

Am I detached enough to let God call me where I don’t expect and eventually call me home?

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The citation from St. Ignatius is taken from the translation of George Ganss, S.J., as found in Dean Brackley’s The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times, a book that I highly recommend.