Since we are in the season of Lent, it is fitting that the chapter I am currently working through is entitled "Asceticism and Sacrifice". Below is an excerpt from the section I read last night.
No matter what our aims may be, no matter how spiritual, no matter how intent we think we are upon the glory of God and His Kingdom, greed and passion enter into our work and turn it into agitation as soon as our intention ceases to be pure. And who can swear that his intentions are pure, even down to the subconscious depths of his will, where ancient selfish motives move comfortably like forgotten sea monsters in waters where they are never seen!
In order to defend ourselves against agitation, we must be detached not only from the immediate results of our work – and this detachment is difficult and rare – but from the whole complex of aims that govern our earthly lives. We have to be detached from health and security, from pleasures and possessions, from people and places and conditions and things. We have to be indifferent to life itself, in the Gospel sense, living like the lilies of the filed, seeking first the
and trusting that all our material needs will be taken care of into the bargain. How many of us can say, with any assurance, that we have even begun to live like this? kingdomof Heaven
Lacking this detachment, we are subject to a thousand fears corresponding to our thousand anxious desires. Everything we love is uncertain: when we are seeking it, we fear we may not get it. When we have obtained it, we fear even more that it may be lost. Every threat to our security turns our work into agitation.
So this section basically punched me in the face. I think I will need at least a week to sort through it. The detachment section...geez. The reality is that as I am currently thinking about what to do next, yes I am praying "Thy will be done" but at the same time I am thinking "Hmm, I want some place with lots to do, that has mountains and water, that is warm. I want a place with a job that gives me lots of time off, but is meaningful, and uses all of my abilities. I want it to pay a lot. I don't want it to be too stressful. I want a community who will appreciate and validate me. I want I want I want."