Oh Lord, purify me, make me a chalice in which you dwell, offer your sacrifice in me and spread your love through me. Let me shine like gold, adorn me with the jewels of virtue that I may always be open to you. Fill me. Overflow me. Let me be like that most perfect vessel, the Singular Vessel of Devotion, She to whom I cry for protection against the Evil One. I ask this for your glory, for the vessel is nothing without the sustenance inside, the cup nothing unless it is filled. Oh Lord, purify me.

Give me a word, Abba

Friday, March 29, 2013

Desire and Passion

We all want control. 

In some sense, all of us, no matter how introverted or phlegmatic, want control. We want the world to run the way we think it should. We want people to behave. We want Wrong to submit to Right. We want Peace not Strife (or do we?)

All this seems to dominate our interactions with each other. We grow angry over injustice, then we have to speak up for true justice and if others don't agree? We run them them over with our just anger. It's a world of competition where each competing "justice" just tries to out-yell the other. We are, one might say, a passionate people. Passion comes from the word "to suffer," but I have the distinct feeling that all our passion is causing much more suffering in others than it is in ourselves. In fact, I think we're rather a masochistic society; we rather enjoy suffering. 

We enjoy working long hours on projects about which we are passionate. We enjoy working out to the point of exhaustion. We enjoy the rough and maybe painful love-making so often promoted in our culture. 

But it's all about control, in the end. We want to control not only the outcome of a project, or our bodies, or someone else's body, but also how much pain we feel and when. We will not submit to advice, to reason, to someone else's needs, or to anything outside our own minds boiling over in passion. 

We all want this control. In reality, however, what we desire is desire. 

Desire is the strong urge to be lost in something. It depends on the value of that thing, or person desired, not the control over it we have. Yes, we want to have the thing desired (a sunset, a beautiful Gothic building) but what we truly desire to have is only attainable in giving yourself over for the sake of the thing. When I stepped into St. Thomas on Fifth Avenue in New York, I did not feel the passion of wanting to possess the beauty in order to control it...in order to use it in my own designs. I just wanted to sit in the church contemplating the beauty. I almost didn't want to take pictures, knowing full well that to possess an image of something will always be as ashes before the experience of the thing itself. 

This desire, the desire to be with the thing (or person) desired, but not to control, is exactly how our relationship with God should be. We should not limit him in our passion for a cause, nor should we try to control his action in the world. We are meant to be his instruments, not he ours. We should not take our human causes and put God's stamp of approval on them where he did not put it. 

But even less should we try to separate what is God's will with what is true, good and beautiful. To do that is to say, "Here, God, you can go in this box. I'll keep an eye on this box." If we do this we miss the point. We are once more trying to control when we should be submitting. 

And the irony? In passion, we are not even in control, though we really really want to be. And in desire, we submit so that we are free. We are "slaves to passion" but if we truly desire the good, we are free to do what we want. Let us forget control, then. If we desire the good and let it guide us, our projects, our causes will become easier, simpler. 

1 comment:

witheagerfeet said...

Beauty is indeed transformative; I have found that sometimes it forces us to submit where we would otherwise not be quite so inclined to do so.