Josemaría Escrivá Obras

We have to make demands on ourselves in our daily lives. In this way we will not go about inventing false problems and ingenious needs which, in the last analysis, are prompted by conceit, capriciousness and a comfort-loving and lazy approach to life. We ought to be striding towards God at a fast pace, carrying no dead-weights or impedimenta which might hinder our progress. Since poverty of the spirit does not consist in not having things but rather in being truly detached from what we have, we need to be vigilant so as not to be deceived by our imagination into thinking we can't survive unless we have certain things. As St Augustine puts it: 'Seek what suffices, seek what is enough, and don't desire more. Whatever goes beyond that, produces anxiety not relief: it will weigh you down, instead of lifting you up.'

In giving you this advice I am not thinking of exceptional or complicated situations. I know a person who used some slips of paper as book marks on which he wrote out some ejaculatory prayers to help him keep in the presence of God. One day he found himself wanting to keep those treasures and he suddenly realised that he was getting attached to the silly bits of paper. Now you see what a model of virtue we have here! I wouldn't mind telling you about every one of my weaknesses, if it were of any use to you. I have merely drawn the cloak aside a little because something similar might be happening to you: your books, your clothes, your desk, your... tin can idols?

In such cases, my recommendation is that you consult your spiritual director. Don't be childish or scrupulous about it. At times the best remedy will be the small mortification of doing without something for a short space of time. Or, to take a different example, it would probably do you no harm to give up your normal means of transport occasionally and to give to charity the money you thereby save, no matter how small the amount may be. In any case, if you really have a true spirit of detachment from things, you will not fail to find all kinds of effective and unobtrusive ways of putting it into practice.

Having opened my heart to you I must also confess to one attachment which I have no intention of ever giving up; it is my deep love for each and every one of you. I have learned it from the best Teacher there is, and I would like to follow his example most faithfully, by loving all men with all my heart, starting with those about me. Are you not moved when you think of Jesus' ardent charity — his tenderness! — which lead the Evangelist to describe one of his disciples as the one quem diligebat Iesus, the one whom Jesus loved?

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