If you want Jesus, he requires nothing less than letting go of everything.
This “Christian detachment”, as Fr. Mark-Mary calls it, has a unique quality that secular forms of detachment do not have. Outside of a Christian approach, detachment becomes nothing but an austere way to shun the world and society. But Christ invites us to detach ourselves from the things we enjoy so he can give us something way better.
As Fr. Mark-Mary says, “We don’t want to go away sad like the rich young man” (see Mark 10:17-31).
The rich young man was holding onto self-reliance, riches, and his way of thinking regarding how his life should look. But remember, before the young man turned away sad, Jesus looked on him with love. The rich young man put his possessions before Jesus’ loving face. That is the power worldly goods have to interfere with our relationship with Jesus.
But Jesus invites us to a higher good. When you leave something behind, it’s wise to make sure you’re not just running from something, but running to something better.
Maybe you’re not ready to quit something cold turkey. That’s all right, because charity can begin with baby steps. You can practice what Father calls “poverty of preference.” Choose little things you don’t like that other people you’re with do like—for instance, drive with the windows down if your passenger prefers it even if you prefer air conditioning. Even something small like that can help us detach from ourselves.
Christian detachment is an attachment to a higher good: Jesus and eternal life. There really isn’t anything better, so there should be no limit to what we are willing to give up for it.
Meet Fr. Mark-Mary
Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.
The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.
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