He who learns to live the interior life and to take little account of outward things, does not seek special places or times to perform devout exercises. A spiritual man quickly recollects himself because he has never wasted his attention upon externals. No outside work, no business that cannot wait stands in his way. He adjusts himself to things as they happen. He whose disposition is well ordered cares nothing about the strange, perverse behavior of others, for a man is upset and distracted only in proportion as he engrosses himself in externals.
If all were well with you, therefore, and if you were purified from all sin, everything would tend to your good and be to your profit. But because you are as yet neither entirely dead to self nor free from all earthly affection, there is much that often displeases and disturbs you. Nothing so mars and defiles the heart of man as impure attachment to created things. But if you refuse external consolation, you will be able to contemplate heavenly things and often to experience interior joy.
Every day I learn how I am still attached to earthly affection because of what upsets and distracts me. It always, always, falls into 4 broad categories; wealth, pleasure, honor and power.
I am not surprised by this of course. Without God’s help I can’t free myself from earthly affections as much as I want to. So I ask the Lord to form my soul the way He wants.
I (try to) treat every moment of my life like a learning task that a loving Father gives to His little child who doesn’t even know how to speak. He stands by my side watching over me and offers all the materials, resources and help I need to complete the task. All I have to do is accept His help and to reach up to Him with confident arms for help if I don’t know how to do it.
I watched Bishop Robert Barron’s youtube commentary on violence in the Bible a few days back and what he said really stuck with me. Bishop Barron said that violence in the Bible is symbolic for the need to battle eg. earthly attachment all the way down. I haven’t been doing this and have seen how true it is that if I don’t completely detach myself from earthly things, my disordered desires for them will grow in strength again. It’s a reliable piece of what I think of as spiritual physics. It’s not going to change no matter how much I wish that it would. It’s an inconvenient truth in a way but such as important one.