I want to be fully awake to God. I’d like to live so aware of being in Christ that I rely on nothing other than God for my security or identity. A bird held by a single thread is still not free, says John of the Cross. John tells us that we need to let go of everything we love more than God–anything that has us entangled and unfree to follow Jesus. Ignatius talks about the same thing in his meditation on the Two Standards.
Some attachments are obvious. We can be addicted to food, work, the news, or pornography, for example. These addictions are strong and generate shame. We pray that God will give us the grace and power to live rightly related to them or without them.
But I am discovering other attachments that are so subtle I wasn’t aware of them. However, my feelings began to reveal them.
I noticed when I was praised, I felt proud that I’d done better than someone else.
I noticed I was surprised and disappointed by a comment someone made.
I noticed I was anxious after I said what I thought. Would people think less of me?
All I did was notice these feelings, and I saw what I’m attached to–the need to be a notch above, my own expectations, and what others think of me.
When we notice our emotions, Anthony de Mello said in Awareness, our attachments are brought into the light, and we are eventually freed from them. He said that all we have to do is observe what’s going on in us as if it were happening to someone else. Just be aware of it.
In Breathing Underwater, Richard Rohr reminds us that many of the mystics and saints emphasized this detached awareness because it helps us
“. . . see ourselves calmly and compassionately without endless, digging, labeling, judging or the rancor that we usually have toward our own imperfection. Don’t judge, just look can be our motto—and now with the very eyes of God.”
Freedom comes when we remain wake to our feelings, thoughts, desires, and motives and bring them to God.
I was formatting a poster for a retreat. When I put my photo alongside those of my colleagues, I wished I could use an old picture of myself which was more flattering.
Then a new feeling emerged. I felt more at peace with how I look. I smiled as this thought came to mind: My unflattering photo could make the others look even more attractive.
Joking aside, I hear: Don’t judge, just look. What does God see?
SOUL OF CHRIST
Jesus, may all that is you flow into me.
May your body and blood
be my food and drink.
May your passion and death
be my strength and life.
Jesus, with you by my side
enough has been given.
May the shelter I seek
be the shadow of your cross.
Let me not run from the love which you offer,
But hold me safe from the forces of evil.
On each of my dyings
shed your light and your love.
Keep calling to me
until that day comes when, with your saints,
I may praise you forever.
–Paraphrased by David Fleming, SJ.
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“I think Christians should be at the forefront of those who recognize the scandal of current practice [of mistreatment to animals]. We kind of sleepwalked into this situation. . . . Christians don’t necessarily need to feel terrible over the practices we have found ourselves immersed in, but recognize the responsibility to become conscious of what we are doing to these other animals and ask whether these practices are compatible with our faith,” said David Clough in an interview published in Church for Vancouver earlier this year. Dr. David Cough, Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of Chester (UK), has been eating a vegan diet since he was 18. He recently gave a lecture at Regent College, sponsored by A Rocha and the Vancouver School of Theology entitled Eating Peaceably: Christianity and Veganism.