Friday, November 10, 2006

Detachment According to St. Thomas More

A victim soul must learn detachment.

This means, also, detachment from suffering itself. The tears flow for the past couple of days, and this has occurred from time to time since last winter. Why last winter? The sorrow was immense! Such sorrow for a soul in dire need! Two days ago that soul returned from treatment. One devil had left and seven others seemed to have entered in. This is how sin develops when one does not rid out initial evil; it can fester and grow over the years, and then when a predominant evil is treated, there appear other disorders and vices which lurked beneath the shadows of the major sin. These vices can be facets of pride: selfishness, desire to be in the center of attention, obstinancy, disrespect of authority, disobedience, desire for grandeur, sense of entitlement, and fear! Yes, fear: lack of courage. It takes courage to do penance and practice mortification.

This requires detachment from self, letting go of pride and other vices.

St. Thomas More, while imprisoned and awaiting martyrdom in 1534, wrote his Meditations on Detachment. They are worth quoting in entirety. Victim souls ought write their own, spurring their souls to the necessary means and modes of detachment in whatever circumstance or era.

Give me Thy grace, O Lord,
to set the world at nought;
to set my mind fast upon Thee,
and not to hang upon the blast of men's mouths;
to be content to be solitary,
not to long for worldly company;
little by little utterly to cast off the world,
and rid my mind of all the business thereof;
not to long to hear of any worldly things,
but that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me unpleasant;
gladly to be thinking of God,
piteously to call for His help;
to lean unto the comfort of God,
busily to labor to love Him;
to know my own vileness and wretchedness,
to humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God;
to bewail my sins passed;
for the purging of them, patiently to suffer adversity;
gladly to bear my purgatory here;
to be joyful of tribulations;
to walk the narrow way that leads to life,
to bear the cross with Christ;
to have the last thing in remembrance,
to have ever before my eye my death that is ever at hand;
to make death no stranger to me,
to foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
to pray for pardon before the judge come,
to have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
for His benefits to unceasingly give Him thanks,
to buy the time again that I before have lost;
to abstain from vain conversations,
to eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
recreations not necessary--to cut off;
of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss as nothing
for the winning of Christ;
to think my greatest enemies my best friends;
for the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good with their love and favor
as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These attitudes are more to be desired of every man than all the treasure of the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it gathered and laid together all upon one heap.

Now, Victim Soul of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, it is time to do the doing which is imperceptible and interior, to enact the necessary severance of unnecessary attachments. And the only necessary attachment is to God alone.


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