Lent, Day 5

“Moral posturing is part and parcel of temptation…It pretends to show us a better way, where we finally abandon our illusions and throw ourselves into the work of actually making the world a better place. It claims, moreover, to speak for true realism: What’s real is what is right there in front of us – power and bread. By comparison, the things of God fade into unreality, into a secondary world that no one really needs. God is the issue: Is he real, reality itself, or isn’t he? Is he good, or do we have to invent the good ourselves? The God question is the fundamental question, and it sets us down right at the crossroads of human existence.”

– Pope Benedict XVI, from today’s reading in Magnificat


  1. Lent Day 5-Sunday-openned the bottle you gave my dad for his inauguration, 2001 Travaglini Gattinara of Italy. Darin and I drank it all. It was lovely. ha. no. My dad is here, Darin made duck in the sous vide, and the wine was absolutely lovely. My dad wanted me to write and tell you how much we (all of us including my dad) have enjoyed it. Thank you. from all of us. mcm

  2. Cubeland Mystic says

    I think I understand this. When I reverted certain attitudes and propensities immediately left me. They were just gone. As I've grown others have gone too. Why is this? I wondered. I've concluded this is the gift of detachment, so that you have more mind share to apply to the God question. I believe this is a pattern in the spiritual life, and part of it is a gift from God himself.

    Returning to Church from the world, initially, I was sensitive to the worldliness of the liturgy, and the Catholics in the pews who seemed indifferent to it. It was moral posturing for sure. Mostly internal, but sometimes it was external. Somewhere along the way I became indifferent to it, and now there is no outrage. I am simply indifferent to it, unless the Mass is invalid. The posturing is blockage. It becomes the reason you go to church, so you can experience moral outrage and be a righteous crusader. That becomes your god.

    It's the same for the pro-life crowd, the social justice crowd, the Catholic apologetics crowd etc etc. This misdirected zeal is analogous to a dying star burning the wrong matter to sustain itself. Eventually it will die or explode.

    Faith can't be based on outrage. It has to be God focused. One grows in faith through detachment. At least that has been my experience. After I detached from something, that compartment of my soul was filled by God.

  3. Matthew Lickona says

    Thank you. So glad the wine showed well.
    "Eventually it will die or explode." Very nice.

  4. CM,

    True detachment is never indifference, it is the complete openness to doing God's will. Among other things, God's will is that all men be saved and that he be glorified. Zeal, properly understood, is very much a part of the Catholic life. God wants us to be zealous for the right thing. This is one of the graces of the Holy Spirit.

    I do agree, though, that we must be careful that one's reason for passionately pursuing a cause is not from a selfish motive. This indeed will eventually die or explode. Nor can faith be based on outrage, as yuo pointed out.

    One other thought on anger. Anger is given to us by God and is connected to justice. It is not only normal but healthy to be angry in the face of certain situations. The important thing is what we do with this anger. Do I explode and respond unjustly myself? Do I forget about it because to over come the injustce seems to hard? Or do I turn my anger into a help in motivating me to bring about greater justice in the world.

    Lansing Sem

  5. Cubeland Mystic says

    Lansing Sem

    I did not say that detachment was indifference. Let me clarify, I became indifferent to what I perceived as liturgical abuse. It was moral posturing on my part. I wanted chant or silence in the Mass, not rock & roll, or homilies that didn't involve skits and gimmicks. As I realized I was posturing, my outrage toward the music or homilies lessened. As I matured I learned to trust God, and became indifferent to the music, and learned to trust my current pastor. I never went to Mass looking for a fight. However, I've met people who do, and that is to whom I was referring.

    I do agree that one component of detachment is complete openness to doing God's will, but it is not the only dimension. What you describe is spiritual detachment. For example being open to life is spiritual detachment. I think there is corporal detachment too. People have idols, and they are barriers to even considering phrases like "openness to doing God's will."

    The personal example that I am willing to share is I used to really love jazz. It had a sustaining spiritual component. When returned to faith it went away. The prominent space it occupied in my internal life was filled by God. It wasn't a lack of openness, it wasn't an unhealthy attachment, there wasn't withdrawals and cold showers, there simply wasn't any room for it in my life. I let it go as easily as you would toss a leaf in a stream just to watch it float away. No pain or regrets, it's just gone.

  6. CM

    Thanks for the clarification and the personal example.


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