Detachment and Interiority

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Prayer
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Allow me boldness to reassure my small handful of readers that, despite a hiatus, I have not abandoned this project to share with you the thoughts of my life. In the jumbled mess that is my mind, I find it difficult to organize things; I seek a balance between spontaneously expressing myself in a right-brained fashion and presenting you a left-brained, logical progression thought. If I fail in this, which I often may, I apologize and hope you bear with me.

Today I wish to expand on what I wrote in a previous post, Chapel of the Heart. The meditations of my own have been centered that post’s thrust, which was merely that the new temple of God is the heart of the Christian, and it is there that I and we must be truly seek him. I am lately obsessed with the interior life; I am not well-read enough in its subject to offer a definition, but I am endeavoring presently to change that.

I do want to offer a working definition of what I call interiority: ‘a life characterized by a pursuit of what is inward.’ Many times even as a Christian, I have wondered where does one go to meet with God. If that seems like a strange question, consider deliberations about where to do a business meeting, or lunch with a friend: knowing where to meet someone is not as simple as “anywhere”.

The locus is our heart – that much I am sure of. As a sinner in need of mercy and grace, however, I see my own heart as a virtual minefield. It is often so wrought with temptations, with concerns, with hatreds and prejudices – as a meeting place with God it’s about a million times more inappropriate a meeting place as saying ‘Hey, let’s ask grandma to meet us for lunch in the biker bar.’

Nonetheless, God in Christ has redeemed my heart – no matter how I feel it to be, or even know it to be, as God sees it my heart is new and clean – it is an opulent palace in which I can meet him without any shame or compunction. I feel a twinge of doubt as I write that… I will have to contemplate its truth to understand it. My faith needs to catch up with God’s reality – in a way, perhaps that’s what the Christian pursuit is really about.

I digress however. Interiority is about pursuing Jesus inwardly and realizing that interior castle (St. Teresa) as God sees it to be. There is more to it, no doubt, and I continue to seek it. Before we move on to that, possibly termed ‘building the castle’, we have to consider its foundation, in this case, our motivation. Interiority moves us to detach from the world and its cares to seek what truly matters; we detach from the world to attach ourselves to Jesus. We can only truly do that by moving ourselves toward the interior life – of this much, I am convinced now.

This is a large subject, and I plan to write on it, piece by piece as I understand it, in other posts. For now I want to leave you with the thought that if the interior is where God is, go there to find him. Let us practice detachment to go find him there, attach ourselves to him, and only let go when he tells us to. Often we seek God to give us help in our day, or because we ought, we feel, in order to be a ‘good Christian’. Authentic prayer, I am convinced, has to be an end in itself, not a means to an end. Let our times of attachment to God be a time of simply being with him, not talking at him. I have never had – and I am sure it is the same with you – times so supernal, profound and sweet with Jesus as when I simply shut up, just was, listened and waited.

I once heard at a Mass at Seton Hall University that has always stuck with me. The priest challenged us to see our hearts as a place for God to dwell and to meet with him: to see its rolling plains and lush gardens, and allow God to walk wide and freely among them, unhindered by anything. May he also easily find us there, never having to call out our names asking ‘Where are you? I’m looking for you at my home – your heart. Why aren’t you here?’

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