“DETACH YOUR HEART FROM ALL THINGS; SEEK GOD AND YOU WILL FIND HIM.”
We are apt to complain that, seeking God, we do not find Him. “Detach your heart from all things,” St. Teresa used to say, “Seek God, and you will find him.” Otherwise, the things we love will be continually drawing us off, and will prevent us from finding God. The Lord one day said to our Saint: “Oh! how much would I willingly say to a great number of souls! But the world makes a great noise around their hearts, and in their ears so that My voice cannot be heard! Oh! if they would but separate themselves a little from the world!”
There are many souls given to prayer, in whom Divine love finds little, if any, place, because they go to prayer with a heart filled with earthly affections. For this reason it is that St. Ignatius of Loyola says that a soul that is detached will profit more in a quarter of an hour’s prayer than a soul that is not detached will in several hours. No sooner has the bird escaped from the net, than it flies away; so, in like manner, no sooner is the soul set free from earthly affections, than it flies quickly to God. The masters of the spiritual life teach that defects do not prevent us from advancing to perfection, provided the soul endeavours to rise with humility and peace, as soon as it has fallen; but the smallest attachment, were it only a fine thread, does prevent us.
The Roman Senate, as St. Augustine relates, sanctioned the payment of Divine honours to thirty thousand deities, that is, to all that were recognized as such in the world; but it refused to decree Divine worship to the God of the Christians, Whom it styled a jealous God, since He desired to be adored exclusively. And the Roman Senate had good reason for what they thus alleged; not because God is proud, but because He is the true God. The thief is satisfied if he obtains a share, but the owner is not satisfied without the whole. God desires then, to be the sole possessor of our heart; and, therefore, He enjoins upon each of us this command: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart (Matt. xxii. 37). “Let us act in such a way,” said St. Teresa to a certain Superior, “as to detach souls from everything created, in order that they may become the spouses of a King, Who is so jealous that He would have them forget everything, and even themselves.” Let us, then, set to work to detach our heart from riches by the love of holy poverty; from pleasures, by mortification; from honours, by humility; from relatives, by detachment; and, lastly, from self-will by obedience to superiors; frequently offering up to God that excellent prayer: Create a clean heart in me, O God! (Ps. 50. 12). Give me, O God, a heart that is empty and detached, that it may be filled with Thy holy love.