Desires and Order

In Luke 10:27, Jesus quotes scripture:

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

This one sentence, this one command, represents the three dimensions of spirituality: vertical, horizontal, and inward. This also implies an order: love God first, others second, myself third.

In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius talks about disordered desires. The Buddhists try to eliminate all desire because they believe desire is the cause of suffering, thus their emphasis on detachment. St. Ignatius calls us to detachment from things in the world too, but instead of eliminating the human need to desire, he embraces it. If our desires are ordered, then we will be inline with God’s will, and that is what our ultimate desire should be. For in following God’s will, the Christian believes we will be happy and blessed.

The trick now becomes to order our desires. Something that we cannot do on our own. It takes grace. Our desires will never be completely, perfectly ordered on this side of heaven, but we can come close with God’s help. First things first…

Possible paths to explore and meditate:

  • This is one aspect of what Catholics call sanctification, the process of being made perfect and holy, to become a full brother or sister of Jesus, capable of living in heaven and seeing God face to face. “Being saved” is not a one-time event, but an ongoing process.

  • The process is not completed on earth (usually?), thus the need for Purgatory to bring the purification process to ordered perfection.

  • To examine ones life, to know oneself at the deepest levels is to uncover the hidden desires of our hearts and try to order them with prayer and grace, thus bringing us closer to God. (The inward dimension of spirituality)

  • Loving God and loving your neighbor, on the surface, appear to be two different things. But on a deeper level, they are the same thing. (See Matthew 25:31-46) If you know God is in everyone, how do you love them without putting them above God?

Father, help me to desire Your will, to put my desires in order, to detach from the unnecessary things in life, and to reflect Your love to others around me.