Wednesday, January 17, 2007

virtue of the day

i am reading a really great book about the classic virtues, and today i am thinking about "detachment". here are some random thoughts from the book, "The Glorious Pursuit", by Gary Thomas.

"if you undertake a devout life, you must not only cease to sin, but also cleanse your heart from all affections to sin...souls that are recovered from the state of sin, and still retain these without relish, sleep without rest, laugh without joy and drag themselves along rather than walk. they do good, but with such a spiritual heaviness that it takes away all the grace from their good exercises." - fracis de sales

"detachment is different than surrender...surrender is an act of will, choosing to accept what we find ourselves in and looking for Gods good purpose in it. detachment means we stop finding our meaning and security in people, things, positions, money and power so they no longer lure us into actions we know are unwise or unprofitable. in Matt 6:33 (seek first his kingdom...) Jesus is saying that the focus and passionate attachment of the believer will seem radically at odds with those of the world. detachment is the attitude that helps us cooperate with God's work as he shapes our desires, so we come to rest in the knowlege that what is truly valuable to the soul can only be given by God himself. .... Modern evangelicalism can become so focused on stopping a sinful behavior that we can lose the practical nature of virtue. we want to stop sinning without examining and freeing ourselves from the root desires that are disordered. to be free from sin, we need to look a the internal cause rather than just focus on the action. ... if the heart is bent by an appetite that leads to sin, all the external discipline agreed upon in moments of strength will wilt in the heat of desire. john of the cross explains, 'we are not discussing the mere lack of things; this lack will not divest the soul if it craves for all these objects. we are dealing with the denudation of the souls appetites and gratifications. this is what leaves it free and empty of all things, even though it possesses them. .... detachment means that you relinquish every demand you place on things and other created beings - even legitimate ones. demands are nothing more than spiritual chains. ... detachment is about far more than merely abstaining from sin. it's practice begins with the delight of our soul, Jesus Christ. He detached himself from heaven to become a man. he det. himself from his family to begin his ministry. he det. himself from people's favor to become their savior. he det. himself from life on earth to die for our sins. he det. himself from spiritually experiencing his father's presence so he could become sin for us. everything that matters most, Christ gave up. and he is the model for how we live our faith." - excerpted randomly from 'the glorious pursuit" by gary thomas, chapter 7.

No comments: