Detachment as Seen by Concepcion


Detachment as Seen by Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

The following passage is very difficult, and it is phrased in a spirituality that like that occasionally of St. Thér&egrace;se can be off-putting. But I think the essential impulse is mostly correct.

from Before the Altar Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

Send me experiences of deception, misfortune; let me treated with indifference and ingratitude; let me be forgotten and forsaken, in your mercy, so that all that is earthly may be removed from my heart. Do this for the good of my soul which is so inclined to attach itself to creatures and which, nevertheless, desires only to belong to you, my Jesus.

May all that is evil in my heart be taken far way from me, O my adorable Jesus! May the bad seeds which lie within my heart perish, and may the first fruits of my sufferings be always for you alone.

May I do all the good I possibly can, and yet may no one ever be grateful to me for it.

Slaves are made use of, and then they are forgotten; on, how I envy them!

O my Jesus! What I want, however much pain it may bring me, is to render service to others and to be repaid with ingratitude in exchange for my kindness.

It is a glorious ideal, and I am unworthy to attain it, nevertheless I will pursue it; whatever be the cost!

In this way, with my soul detached from creatures, and purified by sacrifice and voluntary humiliations, I shall fly to you, my Jesus and you alone shall be my reward and my all.

As might once have been said, "Strong meat." But the impulse underlying all of this is true, and here is an exposition of one of those places where we all are so attached we don't even realize it. You know when you hold open a door for someone and they just barge through, completely ignoring the courtesy and nearly running you down in the process? You know how you want to just say, "You're welcome," as they hurry to whatever pressingly urgent engagement they have? These result from an attachment--an expectation that a service receives a reward. Common courtesy dictates this. However, it is so much the better for us when the service is overlooked, and yet we have done it gladly for love of Christ. Not from convention, not from expectation, not from habit, but out of the knowledge that when we do any service for any of our brothers and sisters, we are rendering that service to Christ. When anyone acknowledges that service, in a sense we have been repaid for it. And when we have come to expect that acknowledgement and receive it, we can mark the bill "Paid in Full" and expect no favor from Jesus for it, because we have done it for ourselves.

That is the impulse behind this writing--the understanding that all too often in whatever service we render, in whatever praying we do, in whatever action we take, we are preeminently self-serving. Only through detaching ourselves of the expectations associated with the service to we begin to advance. That doesn't mean that we become rude and cold, but simply that what we do is done for Christ, whether we a thanked, noticed, or remarked upon or not. Every action becomes oriented to the love of Christ and what can be a better font of courtesy and of True Love?

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 15, 2003 8:37 AM.

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