Loving Detachment

The Anchoress muses here about the mystery of human love and how it reflects Divine Love.

when our relationships are healthy and honest and authentic — we cannot help but model God to each other.

The crunch point is the realization that in a true love you give up the other person, you do not cling to them. To truly love that person you have to be willing to let them go. You have to love your kids enough to let them go. You have to love your parents enough to let them be who they are and forgive them if necessary. You have to love your spouse enough to let them be who they are and not who you expect them to be.

Isn’t that what Jesus Christ is digging at when he says to follow him you have to “hate your mother and father and brother and sister”. He’s using hyperbole to state a stark truth that truly loving God and truly loving the other person means that we ironically have to be detached from them.

The Benedictine understanding of “detachment” is very subtly, but importantly different from the Buddhist idea. In the Easter religions “detachment” is total abnegation of the relationship. It is a cutting off from all love and all attachment in order to achieve bliss or peace. The Benedictine concept of detachment is that we love all things according to their worth, and this means being detached from all distorted or excessive or inferior loves in favor of the greatest loves.

This detachment gives great peace and freedom, but in a positive way of loving all things–not in the negative path of denying all things, and what applies to things applies to people. We love according to each person’s relationship to the greater love, and inasmuch as we love those persons aright that love connects us to the Divine Love–the source of all things the Love the “moves the sun and the other stars”

About Fr. Dwight Longenecker

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