A Year with the Saints – 22 December

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The soul which remains attached to anything, even to the least thing, however many its virtues may be, will never arrive at the liberty of the Divine union. It matters little whether a bird be fastened by a stout or a slender cord – as long as he does not break it, slender as it may be, it will prevent him from flying freely. Oh what a pity it is to see some souls, like rich ships, loaded with a precious freight of good works, spiritual exercises, virtues and favors from God, which, for want of courage to make an end of some miserable little fancy or affection, can never arrive at the port of divine union, while it only needs one good earnest effort to break asunder that thread of attachment! For, to a soul freed from attachment to any creature, the Lord cannot fail to communicate Himself fully, as the sun cannot help entering and lighting up an open room when the sky is clear. – Saint John Chrysostom

It is related in the Life of Saint Gregory that a rich man left the world and retired into a wood, taking with him, to afford him some recreation in that solitude, only a little cat, as he loved it and often caressed it. After living thus for some years in a constant course of prayers and penances, he prayed the Lord to be pleased to show him what reward was prepared for him. Then God revealed to him that he might hope for a place in Heaven equal to that which Pope Gregory would receive. The good hermit was much grieved at this information and could not understand why one who had left all he had for God, and had served Him with such austerity, should not receive a greater reward than one who was living in the midst of riches and luxury. But the Lord opened his eyes by showing him that he was more attached to his cat than Gregory to all the riches and honors he enjoyed; and that perfection consists precisely in detachment from all that is not God.

The nuns of the Visitation make special profession of detachment from everything, as they cannot appropriate to themselves the smallest article, not even a needle. They maintain this excellent spirit in its full vigor and prevent them from becoming attached to any object, their Rule requires them to exchange with one another every year the articles of which they make use – their rooms, books, furniture, everything – even the crosses they wear upon their bosoms.

MLA Citation