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Next Level Catholicism and True Detachment

Updated on August 16, 2021

”Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached.” ~ Simone Weil

In today’s Gospel (Matthew 19:16-22), we encounter the faithful young man who asks Jesus, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” We come to learn that he understands, respects, and obeys all of Jesus’ teachings, a suddenly evaporating virtue in our world today, what with the proliferation of “Cafeteria Catholics,” many of whom are currently in positions of great influence and authority in our country. Jesus goes on to challenge him by saying “if you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give it to the poor. Then, come follow me.” (19:21). We’re told that this young man was not up to the challenge, instead he “went away sad, for he had many possessions.” (19:22).

Over the years, some have speculated that this young man may very well have been called to be the “13th Apostle.” Although I have reflected upon this possibility in the past,, I’m not sure that I fall into that camp (Matthew 19:28, Revelation 21:14).

Regardless, we are all called to follow Jesus. We must all work honestly and diligently to eliminate the impediments and distractions that keep us from accepting this challenge. In tomorrow’s Gospel (Matthew 19:23-30) Jesus will warns us that “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” If you’re reading this and you have been Baptized, you are in fact rich.


So how are we gonna do this? How does one “widen the eye of the needle” so to speak? Very few of us are called to surrender all of our possessions and wealth in the name of God. Truth be told, it’s imperative that wealth remains in the hands of the generous, wise, and faith-filled. It’s certainly no secret that the enemies of God and his teachings are extremely well-funded and ready to unleash their enormous financial resources in defiance of God’s truth. The just must stand tall and go toe-to-toe with the forces of evil. But regardless of the specifics of our calling, at the heart of each vocation is greater detachment to the “things” of this world, whatever they may be.

For many, wealth is erroneously viewed as a security blanket, this despite the fact that the only genuine security blanket is the one which covers us in Jesus’ love and friendship. Our faith in him coupled with our desire to do His will, a desire that flourishes only through our obedience and his boundless grace, will ultimately culminate in our salvation.

Not long ago, I taped a very simple note to my bathroom mirror. On it are two words: “Next Level.” Upon seeing this note every morning when I shave, I ask myself, ”What am I doing to take my faith to the next level?” For that matter, what am I not doing that I should be in order to get to that next level, and how do I go about implementing it? What are the roadblocks? How do I remove them?

The answer to this question is different for everyone. But the solution, in virtually every scenario, involves detachment. Affixed beneath this note on my mirror is a copy of a prayer that I will leave you with. Many of you might be familiar with this prayer; it speaks to the importance of becoming more Jesus-like in all that we do. It is the person who surrenders their incessant, hollow desires, moving from attachment, egoism and the never-ending thirst for enjoyment, to a detachment from that which is earthly and fleeting, who truly attains tranquility and peace of mind.

For true detachment, spiritual or otherwise, is not that you should own nothing. But that nothing should own you.

“O my divine Savior, transform me into yourself. May my hands be your hands. May my words be your words. Grant that everything I do may serve only to glorify you. Above all, inflame my heart with your divine love. Lift up my soul and remove from me all that is not of you. May your Spirit watch over and guide me, that I may live my life in you, and by you, and for you, and that I may truly say with Saint Paul, “I live now not I, but Christ lives in me.”(Galatians 2:20) ~ Amen


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