Moving slowly? Trapped behind a fence spiritually? Can’t get that momentum going? The fence is too hight to climb? What’s going on?
Did you ever have a pet who was literrally your “velcro” pet? I used to own a greayhound named Bailey who had been a racer. Racing dogs are not necessarily treated very well. When Bailey became our dog, he liked where he was, but he was very much afraid of being abandoned. He was my velcro dog. Where I went, he went. At times, he was, literally, attached to my hip. (He was a big greyhound!)
We all have attachments to things, people, places. Some of these attachments serve us well, in that they keep us focused on a goal or ideal. Many attachments are too strong and keep us from our goals or ideals.
Many attachments keep us locked in or trapped behind a fence. When the love of these attachments become greater than our love of God, we get stuck. For example, when you’d rather watch a football game, whether in person or on TV, rather than attend Mass, you have an attachment to the game, sports, TV or a combination. When you’d rather go to a party than take the time to pray to God, then you have an attachment that is stunting your development spiritually.
The First Commandment says, “I AM the Lord, Your God, you shall not have strange gods before me.” Choosing things, places, and even people before choosing our Loving God, harms us spiritually.
On the surface, watching TV, a footbal game, or enjoying sports is not a bad thing, but when we make choices that either limit our contact with God or break His laws, then these attachments are not holy and we need to eliminate them.
The Second Commandment says, “Thou shalt keep holy the Lord’s Day.” How many times have you missed Mass because you chose to sleep in when you weren’t sick. Or you chose to go to a soccer game? God needs to be first in our lives no matter what.
When attachments don’t leave room in our souls for our Merciful and loving God, then we have to make a choice, and that choice is to give up the attachment and make more room for God. This is not an easy process. Many times, we don’t even realize we have an attachment to something that is not God. This is the time for prayer. We need to pray that we become aware of all attachments that keep us away from God, that separate us from His Love. Once we do that, we need to accept the answer that comes from God. It might not be an answer we like, but God wants us to grow closer to Him.
Going back to my greyhound, Bailey, well, it was tough on both of us, but I had to work to with him so that he would stay in one room while I was in another. He was my attachment, and I was his. When he died, a part of my heart went with him. I finally let him, and God filled the emptiness with His love.
Attachments can keep us from God. They steal space in our hearts that are meant for Him and Him alone. The process of giving up our attachments is called dying to self. When we die to ourselves, we open our souls to God so that He can come into our souls and heal and love us. God is so good!
The truth is that we don’t need to be trapped behind a fence. We can climb that fence, but it’s not easy. Letting go of attachments is not easy, that’s why they are called attachments. Like a thorn stuck to our clothes, attachments make life more difficult, but when we pray for the knowledge to know what is keeping us from God, then the strength to detach from these things, we can climb that fence.
May Our Great and Loving God help us to see what is preventing us from climbing our fences and keeping us trapped. Once we are given the knowledge, may our Merciful Lord open our hearts and help us to remove that which is not good in our souls, as painful as it might be to do. Then let us rejoice as we die to ourselves and experience the love of God! Amen.