Almost every Lent I ask myself a question that I have begun asking ever since the day I read Gerald May’s book, Addiction and Grace. The question is simply, How much energy am I giving to things that are not my true desire? Another way of asking that question might be, What am I clinging to that does not give me life?
WHERE CLINGING TO THINGS ENDS
GOD BEGINS TO BE.
In each of us there is a treasure undiscovered, a love withheld, a light grown dim, a song unsung, an ego to which we cling. There are things to which we are nailed. In her wisdom, Mother Church, gives us the special Season of Lent to assist us in singing the Song of Life more fully. During this season of growing up in Christ, I invite you to prayerfully search your life taking inventory of the things to which you are nailed. Being nailed to something is not a freeing experience. It is a way of living our lives enslaved. We become our own captives. The things we are attached to force us into captivity and enslavement. In his book, Addiction and Grace, Gerald May reminds us that the word attachment comes from the old French, “attache”, meaning “nailed to.” He suggests that attachment “nails” our desires to specific objects and creates addiction.
When we think of addictions what most likely comes to our minds are drugs and alcohol. These, indeed, are two very common addictions that have stifled the seed of life in many people. For our Lenten homework, however, we are going to turn our thoughts to many of the things we are nailed to that we do not ordinarily consider addictions. To help us in this soul searching examination I am quoting from Gerald May:
“Addiction exists wherever persons are internally compelled to give energy to things that are not their true desires. Addiction sidetracks and eclipses the energy of our deepest, truest desire for love and goodness. We succumb because the energy of our desire becomes attached, nailed, to specific behaviors, objects, or people. Attachment, then, is the process that enslaves desire and creates the state of addiction. (Gerald May)
The words on and surrounding the cross below represent things to which we might be nailed. Meditate on the cross and ask yourself a few questions.
- Is there anything on this cross to which I am nailed?
- What words would I add to the cross?
- What are my deepest desires?
- Why do I continue to give so much energy to things that are not my true desires?
During this enriching season of renewal give yourself the gift of Listening. Listen to the seed within you that wants to take root. Listen to the love with you that has weakened. Listen to the light that has grown dim. Listen to the song that has remained unsung. Listen to the nails that hold you on a cross of your own choosing.
LISTEN TO THE UNDISCOVERED WISDOM IN YOUR OWN HEART.
LISTEN TO THE WISDOM OF LENT!