Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (September 30, 2018)

Today’s readings call us to be totally committed and dedicated to God. St. Francis de Sales tells us that we do this by cultivating a life of holy love.

The supreme happiness of the world consists in loving many things as one’s own. Such affections easily spring up again and again in us. But we must make a clear distinction between inclinations and attachments. If our feelings come from inclinations, we should not be concerned. For instance, a thousand times a day I may feel enraged against someone who has slandered me. But if I turn to God and make an act of charity for the one who outraged me, there is nothing wrong, for it is not in my power to calm my natural feelings, especially when faced with a lion.

With our attachments it is a different story. What makes us so attached to what is ours is the exaggeration of our self-importance. While we may subdue our inordinate self-centeredness, it will never die as long as we live here on earth. Yet, if we wish to calm the feelings that dominate our actions that cause us regrets, we need to nurture holy love. To do this we must move from our inordinate self-centered loves to a love that seeks only God’s glory in all things. Holy love begins to grow in us as we begin to let go of all that does not lead us to God’s goodness. “Letting go” (holy detachment) is such a difficult virtue to acquire that in a monastery it takes ten years of cultivation. Yet the virtue is not as terrible as it sounds, for it gives us the liberty of spirit to love the world around us as God loves it. So let us follow reason and not our tendencies or dislikes of difficult virtues. While our attachments are very precious things, we must use them to love God, our one true Possession, to whom we dedicate and commit our lives.

(Adapted from Carneiro, Spiritual Conferences of St. Francis de Sales)