When We Can’t Have What We Want

You’d think that people of faith would know how to deal with basic disappointments. We have been trained to think in the long-term and welcome ordinary hardships that provide character-building opportunities. But, alas, most of us aren’t skilled at remaining calm and positive when we don’t get what we want. Those of us in first-world situations have bought into the culture of consumerism and instant gratification. We expect fast Internet service, medications that will make […]

The I-Want-It-So-Badly Virus

Sometimes we’re driven by the I-want-it-so-badly virus: I so wanted to get to the top of the company, or to attract that attractive person, or to be rich, or to be recognized as important, or to have the best house, or to have a more exciting life. In fact, we sometimes delude ourselves into thinking that the object of our affection (the job, the car, the partner, the house) must be right for us precisely […]

Pope Francis on Hidden Idols

Pope Francis’s public remarks have a decidedly Ignatian slant. Consider this from his weekly audience–about what Ignatius calls “disordered attachments:” We have to empty ourselves of the many small or great idols that we have and in which we take refuge, on which we often seek to base our security. They are idols that we sometimes keep well hidden; they can be ambition, a taste for success, placing ourselves at the centre, the tendency to […]

“I want, I want”

Susan Stabile, an Ignatian spiritual director and law professor, distinguishes between the desire that causes pain and the desire that motivates us: Attachment (what might be called disordered desire) always feels tumultuous, unsettling and lacking in peace. Deep desire has an element of peace in it and it pulls us generally forward rather than roiling uncontrollably. And they are very different in their effects: Clinging and attachment incapacitate, deep desire energizes. Clinging and attachment lead […]

A Lesson from a Homeless Man

Something to think about | The purpose of the Exercises is both freedom from inordinate attachment and union with God and God’s way. . .  Facing “disordered affections” and “ordering one’s life with God at the center” are two sides of the reality, much like a coin. The energy absorbed in compulsive, obsessive, disordered, fixated behavior is energy unavailable for authentic relationship with God, with one’s true self, with others. I had studied and preached […]