Thursday, December 05, 2013

Disordered attachment.

Fr. James Martin, SJ has a wonderful counsel on the subject ...
St. Ignatius Loyola often used to talk about "disordered attachments," those things we are so attached to that they keep us from God. It could be a desire for popularity or a love of money or an obsession with perfect health. Or maybe it's something even darker, like an unhealthy relationship that keeps you from freedom.

Another way of looking at this is as an entanglement. When Jesus first calls the disciples by the Sea of Galilee, the Gospels say the fishermen "dropped their nets," to follow him. Those nets are a great emblem for all that keeps us entangled in life.

Advent, when we prepare for the coming of Christ into our lives in a new way, is a good time to let go of those disordered attachments and to drop our nets.

Let it go. Leave it behind. Drop it.

You'll feel better.

We need to free ourselves to be open, so to be receptive to God, who is always present.

Art: Scene from Nights of Cabiria, Fellini, 1957.

The film is about a prostitute.  In the scene, Cabiria and Wanda (holding candle) join a procession to a shrine of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Cabiria prays tearfully, “Madonna, help me to change my life.”  Then the next day, “We’re all the same as before.”

Sometimes it is difficult to disentangle our lives, sometimes we return to pick up where we left off.  The point is, we keep trying.  At each attempt we open ourselves to God - and he rushes in, and we, little by little become receptive to his presence, to his grace.  Without these attempts, these openings, these little responses of ours, we only close ourselves off.  So if we go one night to beg the Madonna, 'help me to change my life' and yet the next day we think, 'I'm the same as before' - don't give up. 

It is not true.  The Madonna hears those prayers and obtains the grace to change our life.  Maybe not always right away, but she enkindles a little flame which brings us back to keep asking, until, little by little, we are ready to walk away free, un-entangled by disordered attachment.


  1. One of my favorite films and a great post Terry. Very encouraging.

  2. It's one of my favorites too. Thanks Donald.


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