This past week I, unfortunately, wasn’t able to attend Mass everyday as I planned. Georgetown University was on Spring Break and wasn’t holding the 10 PM Mass that I usually go to during the week.
This did give me an opportunity to attend a very interesting Mass at another church I’ve been attending.
In honor of St. Patrick’s day, this church decided to hold a traditional Gaellic Mass. It was difficult to follow along as I have never attempted to learn any Gaellic.
But, it was pretty fascinating to think that Mass is conducted the same way around the world. Even though the language was different, the structure and content is nearly identical to an American/English Mass.
It made me want to be a Catholic, mainly so I could be a part of the club.
I was also surprised by how much I missed going to Mass in the evening. I was relieved that I could stay home at 10 PM, but I also missed the ritual of going and listening to the priest’s homily. It felt like I was missing out on some important information.
Ignatian Spiritual Exercises
The theme of this week’s exercises was “spiritual freedom.” It forces the participant to think about all the “disordered attachments” or “disordered loves” that hold him or her back from embracing God.
For me, this exposed my attachment to the desire for recognition/prestige, a desire for a minimum standard of living (which is higher than necessary), and a desire for a career I enjoy.
None of these desires are bad per se; indeed, they all seem like pretty modest desires.
However, they have the potential to cause some problems down the road.
Say I come across a job opportunity that could be more interesting and fulfilling, but it pays significantly less. Would my attachment to my expensive apartment in a nice neighborhood prevent me from taking that job?
Or, what if an opportunity came up that wouldn’t allow me the free time to write about this project, thereby eliminating my chances of me getting famous for my writing.
Would I be able to give this up?
This is when the hierarchy of values becomes important.
The most frightening scenario is not even choosing between the three attachments I have, it’s choosing between the attachments and something else entirely.
If “God’s call” manifests itself in some way that I never anticipated, in a way that requires me to give up the pursuit of prestige or wealth or a cool career, would I be able to do it?
The exercises provided clarity in terms of identifying things that I’d be afraid to give up, which would allow me to train myself to become detached from them.
But, and this is a big but, I have no idea if I’ll be able to detach myself from them. It’s possible I’ll be like the rich man who was afraid to sell all his possessions, even though it meant attaining eternal salvation.
Overall, it has been a good week.