How Can I Desire God Alone?
Lord, you alone are all I desire
To desire God alone means we want nothing but to love God and live His will. What an incredible feeling to want God alone…how can words describe what it feels like to be emptied of all we desire and have replaced it with God. Wow!
Imagine never wanting to find happiness with the world…just God. Never, seeking to go out with friends, or wanting to eat a great meal or longing to watch a great show…or desiring anything that we used to think make life so great…anything at all we sought to gratify our will for pleasure, but only seeking to love God and live for His will alone….Yes, when we desire God alone, we thirst for nothing but be perfectly satisfied with God….not to get love from God, but to GIVE love to God by way of the cross. Amazing!
“Whoever drinks the water I shall give will never thirst [for a pleasure of the world again and be completely satisfied with Me]” (John 4:14).
But to have a true desire for God alone is incredibly hard to obtain, since, from original sin, without God’s grace moving our every thought, word and deed, we desire endless things for self-love (not to love God), to satisfy our desire for pleasure. This makes our will, by nature one that seeks to love ourselves (sinful), from having a great inclination towards sin, which is anything not loving God…and if we aren’t truly looking to love God, we won’t.
“For what the flesh [our nature] desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other” (Galatians 5:17).
“You must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (2 Timothy 3:1-2)…Therefore, if we want Eternal Life, we must seek Mercy to change so we can “do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Yes, desiring anything that is self-serving or for self-gratification, that isn’t for the honor and glory of God is desiring sin, which is in fact a deadly desire–since to be saved we can’t desire sin, but we must fully reject/hate it.
Desiring sin rejects God’s saving grace to love ourselves, making ourselves what we seek to love/please–idolize ourselves–and not God alone. To learn more please read, “What is the Desire for Sin.”
This is why when we die and if our will is still that of wanting sin–if we desire to love ourselves, by our sins or attachments (idols), and not God alone–we reject Heaven from our self-love. Tragic!
“The souls in hell having been found at the moment of death with a will to sin, have with them an infinite degree of guilt; and the punishment they suffer, though less than they deserve [because of the infinite degree of guilt from one act of self-love], is yet, so far as it exists, endless.”
–St. Catherine of Genoa
Therefore, to learn how to let go of such a great desire innately within us, so we can sincerely desire to love God alone takes much grace as our sinful will is very strong, as I explain.
“It is necessary to mortify (deny-ourselves of pleasures/our will), to trample underfoot, so to speak, our own will and to contradict it in everything by sweetly submitting oneself to that of others, provided that what they exact of us is just (doesn’t lead us to sin).”
–St. Vincent Ferrer
We must sincerely cry out to God for strength and forgiveness with a humble heart and become a man like David “a man after my [Jesus’] own heart”; truly willing to “carry out my [Jesus’] every wish [not our own will]” (Acts 13:62).
Oh, we must sincerely burn in our hearts like the psalmist for God:
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you [nothing of the world], in a dry and parched land where there is no water…I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory [I have experienced Your love]. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands [You will do everything through me].
I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods [grace from You alone is all I need]; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. On my bed I remember you; I think of you [nothing of the world] through the watches of the night. Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings [that protect me from sin]. I cling to you [no worldly pleasure]; your right hand upholds me [will save me]” (Psalm 63).
We will know we are on the right path when our hearts can’t wait to die–to be with God. Not from depression and hopelessness…but from LOVE. Oh, sad soul, who wants to live a long life in this wretched world away from Our Beloved, who thinks how sad it is for someone, who is a saint, to die young. What a blessing a young death is for the faithful! What a cross it is to live for so long away from Who our hearts yearn so greatly to be with. What a cross!
When the pain in our souls, as we long for God, is so great that we simply can’t stand to be without God…like we are devastatingly parched for thirst from working tirelessly in the sun…needing water (God)…then we are coming to desire God alone. But even with our desire for God being so great, we relent our will (the desire to die) for God’s…so if He desires us to live long on earth, Thy will be done.
Want for Nothing
When we desire God alone, we don’t seek anything to make us happy not even God. We don’t want anything. Well, of course, we will still have wants, because that is what every choice is: doing what we want (our will). But what I mean is, when we desire God alone, we know what we want–our will–is one of sin (seeking to satsify our deisres, not God’s), so we want nothing to do with a single desire we have and only want what God desires–He alone knows what is best, so we relent all we want for what ever God allows. What God wills for us is all we truly desire.
When we want for nothing, even though we don’t seek God as our source of happiness, God will be our source of joy, but we won’t desire for Him to make us happy–even though He does–we desire NOTHING, but God’s will.
Our happiness, our desires mean nothing. When we desire God alone, we aren’t seeking to make ourselves happy…not with anything in the world, not with a single person, not even with our works of mercy or even God; all we want is to LOVE GOD. God’s happiness is all we care about.
If we pray and God fills us with unspeakable love, we don’t desire that bliss…we want nothing. If God sees fit to love us in such a way that is fine, but we long for nothing but God and His will. If we serve another and they are kind to us and God blesses us, we don’t seek that love or blessing…we are indifferent to it all and only desire what God allows.
People, who pray wanting to experience God’s love, want pleasure for themselves. They don’t want to love God, they want Him to love them. People, who do good works and want blessings from God, want good for themselves (unless we want the blessing so to not offend God–to love Him). But wanting for nothing but God, means we want nothing for ourselves…our mind is focused on loving and serve God. Desiring anything self-seeking isn’t the thoughts of someone who truly desires God alone.
Us wretched sinners don’t deserve anything but a life of penance. But if God, for reasons unknown to us, chooses to bless us with anything, we don’t desire those blessings. We want nothing and simply try to love Him in return for such undeserved gifts.
This is what is in the heart of someone who truly loves God above themselves–the heart we need to be saved.
Unite Our Will with God’s
And how do we love God–by surrendering our will for His (not sinning). Since our will is corrupted with the desire/inclination for sin (concupiscence), we surely can’t love God if we are offending Him with our self-love (our will). Therefore, hating our will is how we obtain Eternal Life and perfection. Anything else is loving our will (sin) over God’s and rejects God’s saving forgiving mercy from idolizing ourselves.
To obtain Eternal Life and not reject God’s saving mercy for sin, we need to honestly desire God’s will over ours (hate our will) and to obtain perfection, our will has to be perfectly united to Gods.
Notice the difference? For Eternal life we need a truthful desire for God’s will alone, hating our own (which sadly most don’t have), and to obtain perfection, we need not only a desire for God alone but that desire has been put into action so perfectly, we now relent our will completely that we no longer allow our sinful will to move us, only God’s grace (His will) moves all of our thoughts, words and deeds–then our will is perfectly united to God’s, and we have perfect love of Him. To learn more please read, “How to Love God.”
Sadly, We Want to be Happy
But most of us don’t really seek to love God, hate our will and want nothing. No. We are longing for happiness. We want God to make us happy, and we even want our happiness with bounds of worldly pleasures (people, power and possessions) as well. Oh, we are a mess of self-loving wants.
I want this, I want that…we want and want, not according to God’s will but our own. This is what destroys our relationship with God and our spouses and others. Sadly, we don’t seek to love God; we seek to love ourselves.
Unless we have allowed God’s grace to transform us greatly, we want to be happy, comfortable and loved by man…Yes, we are self-absorbed and mostly only do what we do for our happiness. Even what seem like acts of charity towards another (as I explain)…are not to love God, but to really to love ourselves. This must end, if we seek to desire God alone. To learn more please read “How to Become Attached to God and Not the World.”
“Come, I beseech You, into my soul, there to destroy all that displeases You and to establish Your heavenly kingdom. If suffering is all that is required to effect this change, I offer myself with my whole heart to You that I may suffer all the martyrdom and torments that ever have been and ever shall be suffered in the world. Spare me not, love! Nothing matter except that I be set free from all that displeases my Savior and of all attachments that keep me from loving Him. I long to love my Jesus and I will to love Him perfectly, no matter what the cost, no matter what the sacrifice.”
–St. John Eudist
Truly, if we long for anything other than God and His will for us, we are seeking our will–sin, which is a deadly desire.
We simply have no idea how much we desire that isn’t God and His will (sin). It is truly horrible how many sins we cover so we won’t see them because we want to continue in them.
How can we repent of any sin and approach God with a humble heart to receive His help (grace) so we can obtain this kind of love for God, if we refuse to even see our sins? We can’t. We need self-knowledge.
Therefore, we need to begin the journey towards removing our attachments and habitual sins, one sin at a time, until the Spirit enlightens us to all of the sins we desire, so we can seek God’s grace to sincerely hate those sins and truly desire God alone.
“Every satisfaction offered to the senses, which is not for God’s honour and glory, must be renounced and rejected for the love of Jesus Christ” (St. John of the Cross).
Oh, all of the pleasures we seek and things we do to make us happy that aren’t God–or should I say that aren’t to know, serve or love God…the things we justify doing that are so far from what any saint or Jesus would spend their time doing….yes, those things….the hours we squander away with “fun”, we need to one by one, with the help of God’s grace, replace them all with things a saint would do (God’s will) so we can one day desire Him alone.
Now, don’t get me wrong, of course, we can still enjoy the things of the world–that are’t directly sinful–or be loved by others, but the problem is that we seek/desire them to make us happy, to console us, to approve us, to understand us, to complete us. We don’t partake in a worldly pleasure because we have to, but because we want to. We want them to fill the void that is within us…and sadly, fill our desire for love and happiness with them and not God alone, who wants to be our everything.
If we are seeking/desiring anything other than God, that rejects God’s saving love for some worldly gratification and rejects Eternal Life. Oh, mortal sins are much more involved than we might understand and go far beyond the grievous sins we might know. Please read “What Are Mortal Sins” (link at bottom of this article).
For many the thought that we need to remove all of the things in the world we have grown to love and desire, that we choose to spend our free time with, might seem impossible and simply not required for salvation. But truly this is the Way of the Church and the saints.
How happy are the saints who renounced all things for God! But, we might even find ourselves saying, “If I give up all that I love, what am I supposed to do with my time…just sit around and pray all day.” And right now that might sound just horrible, because we don’t have the grace to want to pray all day–to love and be with God all of the time–and we simply prefer the TV, internet, video games, movies, working, shopping, pleasurable eating, playing, friends, etc. instead of spending our time seeking how we can know, serve and Love Him. God and His will should be all we want, but from the devil’s lure, we want the world and its pleasures instead. Our heart is supposed to only desire to doing things that help us to know, serve and love God–to do things that aren’t for self-love, but love of Him, but most of us live greatly deceived. Truly not one thought, word or action is supposed to be outside of love of God through loving our neighbor. Oh, how far are we from a saving faith!
“How sad it is to see certain [faithful] souls, like vessels richly freighted, full of good works, of spiritual exercises, virtues and gifts of God, which because they have not the courage to break with certain tastes, attachments, or affections–these are all one–never reach the haven of perfect union [on earth or in Heaven]….it is a matter of deep regret, when God has given them strengh…[but] they will not detach themselves from trifles…He, therefore, that will enter into the Divine union must put to death all that lives in his soul, whether small or great, many or few; he must abstain from all desires thereof, and be completely detached therefrom, as if neither existed for the other.”
–St. John of the Cross
But if we now can hear, great. Now is the time to change. At first, when someone is seeking a saving faith, we won’t really know what that means…and we might never really understand the fullness of what loving God is. But don’t worry, in time all of the things we were doing for personal comfort, entertainment, consolation, praise, etc. will leave, if we continue to seek a saving faith and are persistent in our efforts to change and then be filled with loving God. Eventually, we won’t have to work hard to remove the things we are attached to, because we have finally received enough of God’s grace to move our hearts, and we simply won’t desire them any more…our hearts will be so filled with much of God’s love, we will only want Him. Why would we even want any of that nonsense in the world if we have God? Well, because we have never truly experienced God’s fantastic love and peace He delivers in our life, or if we have we have forgotten about it and aren’t seeking it to continue in all circumstances in our life. However, if we peruse the path of Life correctly, we won’t want the world but God alone.
What Do We do For Happiness?
Truly, how can we welcome God’s love into our hearts, if we go to other things to fill us. It is that desire for love/happiness from others or from things and not from God that rejects God’s saving love. Lets look into what we do for happiness. What we spend our time doing instead of truly seeking God and His perfect will for us.
Do we feel we love God, but then when we are board or tired, we go to our TV for happiness, our friends, social media, food, etc to bring us happiness and relaxation? Oh, we don’t desire God alone, and go to Him, we desire the pleasure and comfort of the world and as a result are greatly missing the perfect pleasure and comfort God provides. Not that it is sinful to do something out side of praying, but we can’t desire it to bring us peace and joy. We need to use it, if it is truly God’s will, to help us grow strong so we can more perfectly know, serve and love God. But if we were honest with ourselves, we would see we don’t do that. We have made the non-sense in this world our source of happiness.
If we don’t honestly seek to stop craving the pleasures of the world, we won’t ever come to really know God’s perfect satisfying love or enjoy Eternity with Him. If we can’t find God’s true love on earth, we won’t find Him when we die. Oh, how hard it is to banish our desire for people and things of this world that we go to make us feel happy or consoled. We have made them our gods. We love the feeling they give us, and we crave it…not God. That is a real challenge. But please understand, what seem’s impossible to remove right now and horribly challenging for even let go for a moment, won’t last forever. When we finally grow in God’s grace, God’s power will eventually take over and following God’s commands [His yoke–the Way to help us to Salvation] will finally become easy, and any cross [burden we have to carry] won’t be overwhelming but light.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke [commands] upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden [cross] light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
But getting to this point takes much patience and persistence and a great desire to change. Sadly, most don’t have what it takes to even begin on the path towards Life since we love so many of our sins so much. We don’t have fear of the Lord. We won’t even want to mention the things we seek out for happiness/consolation which aren’t God, and will try to justify their need and how they aren’t really sinful because they satisfy our need for love and happiness so perfectly. We tragically have made them our gods. But we can’t have God fill us with His love, if we run to other things to fill us instead. We must learn how to desire God alone.
Banishing the pleasures of this world that we seek is one of the most challenging aspects of growing in holiness and for most it takes years to truly rid all that we crave that isn’t to know, serve or love God since we cover most of our cravings so we don’t even see them. It is especially hard to banish seeking our will and not God’s. This growing to desire God alone, is a constant progress. We will start with the huge things we see that crave love/happiness from or those great pride building things we run to for self-value or satisfaction and remove them first. Then after, from God’s grace, we have banished them from our life we will get down to the more finite consolations/approvals we seek, that have been hidden–until God reveled them to us–that we delight in that simply must go too. We must learn how to do everything out of love God through our neighbor, not ourselves.
Need the World
However, until we have the grace to desire God alone, we actually need the love and affection of others, and sadly we even need the pleasures of this world too, because without them, since we have made them the source of our happiness (and not God), we would live bored, depressed and quite lonely lives. We see this need for the world in human development. God made us out of love, therefore we need love to survive. We can’t live without love coming from either God or at least man. A child can’t find God’s love and survive on it, no a child needs human love to thrive. And God uses us to comfort and love a child as it grows into maturity. But when we mature, we are to leave childish ways behind, mature in faith and life for God alone, not in pursuit of the affections of the world any longer. We need to put aside childish things like St. Paul did, “When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) and pursue true love in God alone. Sadly, some of us never grow up; we still want to play and be loved by others; we don’t seek the one and only true Love of our heart…not with a desire the will win Him.
“But what is my [Jesus’] will, except that you should want to love Me above all things and not desire anything but Me” (Jesus to St. Bridget of Sweden).
Few people have the discipline and faith to escape all at once all the affections of others and pleasures of this world that are keeping us from knowing, serving and loving God without falling into despair or quickly returning to the world once temptation occurs. However, there are those who have left the world behind completely to love God and pursue living for Him perfectly by entering into a strict religious life. They are so very blessed to have the support and discipline of its members to not only see to it, through obedience, that its members leave the world not only physically but that they also help move their hearts to remove all cravings for anything that isn’t to know, serve and love God, so a pure desire for God alone can one day flourish. Religious orders greatly help make saints as we can easily see since most saints were religious.
“I saw that the religious state was the best and the safest [way to salvation]” (St. Teresa of Avila).
We can clearly see how we–those still living in the world–still need our worldly things we go to for happiness, because once we loose one of them or can’t have one of them, we don’t know what to do with our time. Truly we would struggle greatly. What would we do without our phones or friends! Panic…sadly, we have made them our life source, and we feel we simply can’t live without them. Oh, some are so attached to some things and people that we fall into great despair at their loss. “Oh, nobody cares about me,” we cry. Sadly, that display of need for many affections is from our lack of affection from God through accepting the cross. We see this behavior over and over again…from the small things we desire/love…to the greater things we are horribly attached to when we can’t have them. But we have to leave them (metaphorically for some)–remove the attachments from our lives–and live for God alone, while still living in the world. What a challenge!
God’s will for many is so hard to accept. When He allows something we really love to leave, we are crushed. But God allows this for many reasons one is so we can see the grave attachments we have, by our reaction to the loss, so we can repent and change and become attached to God alone. When we loose someone or some thing that we are attached to–we can’t wait for it to return and if it can’t return, we run out to get another if possible or we do something else to replace its loss. But sadly most haven’t learned God’s lessons to help bring us to salvation from the loss, and continue life as if nothing ever happened and simply go to the world to fill our void when God’s love that is waiting for us. Sadly some never over come their desire for their attachment and live suffering from the loss–never accepting God’s will nor embracing His perfect love and peace. Even though God provides true peace, joy and comfort, we run to the world instead. Some people might make an attempt to go to God, especially in moments of great pain, but the pining for their attachment, and not wanting or trusting in God’s will, prevents them from receiving all of the love God wants to give them. But God is so generous. Even though we will still be rejecting Him, He will still bless us with something as long as we don’t completely push Him away.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).
How do we come to know our attachments? Ask ourselves: what do we do with our free time? Do we go to the TV, Work, Friends, Shopping, Sports, Dining Out, Beach, Internet, Books, etc. or do we go to God. Sadly, most don’t find prayer and spending quality time with God more fulfilling and relaxing than the pleasures of this world so we run to the world instead. Some do pray and read religious books, but it isn’t our true love…it is a burden or done mostly to gain knowledge (to be smarter than others) not to truly know or love God, and sometimes it is out of commitment, not true love. Plus, our hearts still choose other things and don’t always go to God…we still want some of the world. Do we really need any of those things we do that isn’t to know, serve or love God for Eternal Life…no, but we choose them because they are “fun.” Sadly, God apparent isn’t “fun” enough…and that is right, without much grace…prayer and works for God simply isn’t as fun as the pleasures of world. It can’t be for it is only by grace that God will be enough…without it, it simply isn’t. So we need to work towards obtaining more grace.
What we need to ask ourselves is, do we really believe, “God will fully supply whatever you need” (Philippians 4:19), because if that is true, we need to work to amend our ways, because we–act–otherwise. For example: I have tried to guide others to strive to live for God alone and told them God doesn’t want us to waste our time on fruitless nonsense that merits nothing…and sadly to justify their sins they said, “I deserve some fun.” The words right out of their own mouths proved what they go to for “fun” and it isn’t God. Sadly, even those highly involved in the Church think prayer and works for God is “work” not fun. Just tragic. How cunning is that devil! Truly, God provides more fun, pleasure, and satisfaction than any of the things in the world we do for fun. We just don’t have the grace to experience this. We can’t let the devil deceive us. We must seek to desire God alone as our goal. These poor people simply didn’t believe me and felt they deserved the world as their entertainment…but God wants us to love Him, not the world, not some of the time, but all of the time. And if we choose to do anything that isn’t to know, serve or love God, it is a sin. We shouldn’t find sin an acceptable part of our life’s entertainment. Hurting God should be a horror, not fun. There are some who once thought partaking and obtaining the world’s pleasures was what life was about…but until they met God…and I mean really met God, now choose to rid their life of perusing that nonsense even in the slightest way and peruse salvation–loving God and seeking His will–instead. And these few are now unspeakably happier from God’s fantastic grace.
But tragically for most, we simply can’t live without our worldly attachments as our actions and responses to loosing them proves. This we need to admit. Truly, if someone were to pick us up and drop us off onto a deserted island, we just know we would go crazy without our gadgets and gizmos, without out our friends and family, without out our job and sports, what ever it is that we can’t live without, since we don’t yet have a true relationship with God and the perfect joy and sanctification God alone provides. Yes, we would die of loneliness and utter boredom to say the least. Without grace, we simply can’t understand how someone can be truly satisfied with God alone, because we don’t have God’s love that satisfies the soul yet. However, plenty of saints have written about this perfect peace God provides, and it is meant for us too. We don’t have to enter into a religious life to be saved; we can hate the world and still live in the world. It is possible. But we have to really want to find God, because this path is incredibly harder than it is for a religious. We don’t want to wind up as tragically many of us do who are so addicted to the world, and constantly crave more and more pleasure from it…who eventually loose all sight of Who delivers us the real joy/love we are looking for.
“Let nothing else please us and cause us delight except our Creator, Redeemer and Savior, the only true God” (St. Francis of Assisi).
Truly, God alone most certainly provides us with all we need in live perfectly blissful lives without any of those people and things we think we can’t live without. However, in the beginning of our conversion it is good that we have them, because since we don’t really have God yet we actually need them to live. And if we do things correctly God will use them to draw us closer to Him. But, we are supposed learn how to let go of our attachments and only use the world to help us come to love God perfectly, not have the world keep us from loving God. That is why it is very important to visit the lonely because they need the affection from us since they don’t know how to obtain it from God yet. However, while we are with them, we need to show them the perfect love God has waiting for them and not have them cling to our affection as their hope…but to God who provides all we need. If we stay with the world as our source of happiness, we will loose God forever and choose Hell for all eternity. We must increase our faith. Jesus alone is “the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me [Jesus]” (John 14:6).
This feeling of God’s wonderful love that He does provide, many of us experience to some degree, but for most of us, sadly it isn’t even close to complete, because we still lack the faith (belief) that accepts the amazing perfect peace and love we should be receiving. We want to be filled with His love, but we don’t really believe leaving the world and truly following Him will provide it, so we still clinging to the world and its pleasures instead of God.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing” (Romans 15:13).
If we are still in love with the world, we simply can’t obtain the perfect love, comfort and peace God alone truly provides. Our lack of perfect peace is from our still lack of faith. The more worldly things, power, attention, etc. we crave, the more grace we reject and the less faith we have. Therefore, our goal in life is to steadily remove our inordinate attachments (the things we desire that aren’t to know, serve and love God) as we grow and grow in grace, so we can one day love Him above all and desire God alone.
“He [God] calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength” (CCC #1)
Gaining a saving faith–a faith that loves God above all and desires only Him is obtained through a daily transformation into the image of Christ. Like I said, for most, we simply can’t get ride of every attachment all at once, we would sink from a lack of faith. Therefore, it should be our greatest daily effort to work towards this goal of losing every attachment by removing one at a time. To do this we need to first acknowledge that we don’t love Our Creator above all nor truly desire Him alone as our actions have proven. We need to acknowledge we still don’t have enough faith. As we cry to God, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:23). We have to be honest with our selves. The lie we live with thinking we truly love God when we still don’t is what kills us. Presumption of salvation is a horrible disease spreading in today’s generation. We must abolish it. Even St. Paul didn’t presume he was saved (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:4). We shouldn’t either. Therefore, when we come to understand our misery (sinfulness) more clearly, we will become humble enough to accept God’s transforming grace and grow from virtue (godly quality) to virtue, one virtue at a time into the image of Christ as we find the path of Life.
“And all of us, with unveiled faces [truly humbled], seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed [loosing our sinful ways] into the same image [of God] from one degree of glory [virtue] to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
To remove all that we desire which isn’t good, we need to come to an awareness of just how often we crave love and things instead of God. We need to honestly look into our entire life because desiring one thing that isn’t God, rejects it all. This isn’t easy since the devil has darkened us to the reality of what is a sin and what isn’t. But anything that isn’t to know, serve and love God is a sin. God willing, after reading this article, we will develop a clearer understanding of what are some of the sinful things we choose (desire), that pushes away God’s love so we can repent and change.
Seeking to Be Loved
Many of us don’t realize how often we are looking for love…not from God, but from man or things which causes us to loose love for God. How can we obtain a true love for God if our eyes are on another? We can’t. Our desire must be for God alone. I know this sounds very hard to do especially if we are married and with children, but it is possible. If we want to love God above all and desire only Him, He will teach us how to do it.
We can love others, but not above God. However, most of the time the devil has us saying with our words we love God above all but our actions prove we are deceiving ourselves as our hearts think about and desire to be with them…not united with God. We can love our family, however we must desire to know, serve and love God in them. We simply can’t desire affection from them. And that seeking of love from them is really hard to let go of, since we love to feel loved. They are like a cute dogie: always there smiling wagging its tail filling us with the love we crave. God is there too wagging, smiling, and waiting for us…but since we don’t know Him like we do our dogie, we can’t wait for our dog (family) instead of God, who is constantly waiting for us. If we look we can clearly see our attachments.
Oh, the blessing in the disgruntled selfish teenager who rejects our love and guidance for self-love. How we respond to that rejection should open up our eyes to what we are living for. How many of us have crumbled in great despair over the selfishness of our own children. We don’t want the cross, we want our children’s love. Sure, we shouldn’t allow them to abuse and disrespect us, and should guide them away from such behavior unloving, but if it does occur we should love God’s will and rejoice in our cross as we get to suffer like Christ. God is blessing us with an opportunity to see what we love, Him and His will (cross) or what we want…love from others. It is hard to love and truly desire nothing in return and as our responses to life’s unloving treatment of us teaches us.
How do we respond when our kids grow up and leave their father and mother and become one in marriage (religious life or matrimony)? “Man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh [growing in holiness together]” (Matthew 10:37-38). Do we, the parent, still expect our children to honor our every wish; do we still tell them what to do; do we still wish them to entertain and serve us? Are we crying for our children’s affection? God allows our children to leave us, and they are supposed to go off to serve God and/or their spouse, not their parents any longer. We shouldn’t be jealous of the families that hang out and do many fun things together. Oh, how much harder it is to let go of loving them over God and desiring their affection instead of God’s when our family dotes over us! Don’t desire that. If we desire anything but God we die. Desire the cross, so we can learn how to cling to Christ. Of course children are to love and care for their parents true needs, but do we, as parents, make our needs their constant love, when God is supposed to provide us with all of the love we need. Have we spent our life learning how to let go of the world (children, spouse, friends) or are we devastated when any of them leaves. We can easily see what we have made our life, by how we react when we they depart. Yet, Jesus alone is to be our life–our everything. Like the Lord said, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up his cross and follow after me is not worthy of me” (Mathew 10:37). Are we really living the Word or even trying? When the cross of loosing our children’s outward display of affection leaves, we should rejoice in God plan as He is working to save us. Sadly however, for most of us, when we don’t get our love from our kids, we run and make friends, find a hobby or something else to fill the gap in our heart, when GOD IS WAITING FOR US. He wants to fill us, but we just don’t let Him. We find some other worldly pleasure instead. We need to let go of our kids, spouse, friends and all in the pleasures in the world that we crave for affection and happiness before our hour comes or all will be lost. We must grow in faith to desire God alone.
“In fact everyone is obligated, to this loving cleaving to God as necessary for salvation, in the form of observing the commandments and conforming our will to the divine will” (St. Albert the Great).
We can see our craving for love, approval, affection, and attention when we lack silence. We need to ask ourselves, “why am I talking?” And if it isn’t for the benefit of our neighbor, it is sinful. Truly God asks us to do nothing to benefit ourselves, but to love one another. We must do nothing at all that is self-seeking…just to love. (I know that is hard to understand…how can we eat, sleep, etc. with love…when you are done with this article click here as I have explained how we can work towards loving God in others in every thought, word and deed.) Truly God will take care of us, when we care for others. Yet, sadly we find our selves continuously seeking love. For example: if we have to work extra hard, we tell others to seek their pity; if we are sick, we notify others seeking their compassion. If something bad has happened, we inform others wanting their sympathy. We say something funny looking to be liked. If we do something good, we let others know, looking for their praise. Oh, hard hard it is to truly say every word for the benefit of another. But with God’s grace and our fervent desire to amend, we can. But be ware, we might hide our prideful ways in asking for prayers in times of need or some other seemingly “good” intention, but we have to be very careful to really look into the true intentions for why we talk…is it seeking glory, praise and attention from others or is it from a genuine desire…a true need for help or honestly to help/love others. Seeking help, when help is needed is very good, and seeking to help/love/encourage/support others when they are in need is of course good too. But the devil wants to warp our intentions and make them mostly for self-serving purposes; we need to always be checking “why” we do what we do.
Craving love from anyone or anything thing other than God leads to death…not Life. We must desire God’s love alone. And only seek to GIVE LOVE. If we are reciprocated love in return–great, but alert that we don’t allow the devil, who is looking to sneak into our lives and kill us, to make us addicted to love. The evil one desires to cause us to want that love–not God–to keep us temporally happy and lost/deceived. And since we are beings that crave love, getting any feeling of “love” can easily become an addiction. But we want to be addicted to God…the one who deliver us perfect everlasting happiness. He is the Way. That is real reason so few saints are married people as it is terribly hard to surrender looking for happiness through worldly life, but we must let go of our family, friends, pets, and all things that we run to for happiness and run to God instead.
We can’t desire God alone if we don’t desire His cross. They go together. So the next time we want to complain and run from our suffering think again. Choose to live like the saints who have chosen to find the Way to Christ and chose to suffer like Jesus has done in blissful silence, trusting in God to provide all of the compassion and love we need, then we will come to desire God alone. Sadly, since we have little grace, we don’t run to God but rather we seek happiness/peace through the compassion and pity of man or countless other way to ease our pain. We don’t suffer like Christ or the saints at all.
“They [the lost aren’t] purging away all self-seeking in spiritual things [seeking God for our benefit]…and [suffer from] spiritual gluttony….They render themselves spiritual enemies of the cross of Christ, for true spirituality [that leads to Heaven] seeks for bitterness [the cross] rather than sweetness in God [rather then wanting to experience God’s love; they are focused on loving God by Way of the cross.]” –St. John of the Cross
Not that God doesn’t come to us through man to support us and show us compassion when we need it so we can one day obtain the faith we need to suffer like Christ; He does. But, be alert, check our intentions and desires…and if we seeking to be loved we need to work on modify our desires and seek to give love receiving God’s love alone? So ask yourself: Do we tell others all of our woes looking for pity? Do we have self-pity when our family and friends don’t “love us” the way we think they should? Do we expect people to care for us and are upset when they don’t? Are we seeking love from others or choosing the cross of Christ–accepting God’s perfect will? If we are seeking the cross, we will rejoice in any neglect and praise God for the lack of love/attention from others so we can focus on receiving God’s love and loving Him through His cross, which is the true way to Christ.
Sadly, most of the time, we don’t even realize we are seeking love from man, since we have allowed this sin to define who we are. We have allowed sin to make sin to make us into needy, complaining people that don’t tolerate anything but perfect comfort. And if we aren’t perfectly healthy or comfortable or satisfied, we let others know. I’m not going outside, it’s too hot…we declare, as we run from any personal discomfort and force others to comply with our wishes so not have any for of a cross.
We have become hooked on the “feel good” sensation attention delivers and we feel we deserve it. We don’t feel we deserve the cross, but love from man. Yet, we deserve nothing but suffering for the sins we have committed against God, any pleasure we have is most undeserved. Therefore, we should be more than happy to bear whatever cross God sees fit to deliver us. Seeking to be loved, care for and have attention from others simply doesn’t lead to Life. To grow in true humility, we need to not seek to be loved, but to seek only to love. How did God love? He suffered in silence, offered up His suffering to send grace for the salvation of souls. That needs to be our goal in life to: to suffer for the love of God so to send grace for the salvation of souls. We need to almost running from the attention from man (if possible) so the devil doesn’t have an opportunity to grab a hold of us and drive our hearts to love the doting over and compassion so to strip away the sacrifice for souls. The truly humble want to be nothing but to love.
Now, I’m not in any way saying we shouldn’t show love and have compassion towards others, so to spare them from falling into the trap from the devil, especially if they are sick and needing help. Jesus helped those in need. But we need to give someone the proper help they need. If someone simply doesn’t have the grace and the faith yet to suffer like Christ in silence, don’t leave them alone during their time of suffering so to help them carry their cross like Christ. If they haven’t expressed a joy in suffering, simply don’t do that. They don’t have the grace to suffer like Christ and therefor can’t. If someone lacks grace to suffer like Christ, neglecting to show them love and care they expect won’t help them grow in holiness, it will only make them bitter and angry and feel self-pity…not that seeing our fruits of pride (anger-self pity, etc.) is bad; it can be very good. But our goal in life isn’t to cause someone to bear the fruit of sin, but our goal is to help people grow in holiness. However, if God allows it to occur that is fine.
We need to try to come to understand the needs of others where they are in their spiritual journey. Because without much grace, those who are sick and feeling the need to be loved, need to be loved by man and doted over to feel loved at all. They don’t know God well enough and how to feel God’s incredible love through the cross alone, therefore, without the love from man, they feel all alone and unloved. The tricky part is to not giving someone too much love so they don’t wind up growing in greater love of self craving your love, but to give them just what they need to grow in wonderful holiness. And the only way we can even come close to knowing how much attention someone needs is to pray and learn from our errors. But remember going over board leads to love of man’s affections, not love of God’s consolations and the cross, and doing too little leads people into anger and self-pity and depression as they declare we really don’t love after all.
It takes much grace to love to suffer in silence and we have to work up to gaining that kind of faith and humility. Therefore, if you love to suffer in silence, don’t treat everyone like you…most aren’t at that point spiritually and still need to “feel” loved by man to not become depressed when sick and needy, since they don’t have the faith in God to receive His magnificent consolations to suffer like Christ. But the goal for those who seek to grow in humility, is to not seek attention from anyone, but to run from it and run to the Lord instead.
more coming soon