Meditating on the two ways of desiring this week is really simpler than it first may seem. It isn’t about making a choice between independence from God and union with Jesus. We’ve already made that choice. All we are asking for this week is the grace to become aware of the ways of desiring that are at work around us. Our Christian faith tradition has long pictured this struggle as a battle being waged for our very souls. Our effort this week is to understand the movements at work in this spiritual warfare. There are these two competing strategies for attracting our hearts and shaping our desiring, and therefore the choices we ultimately make. The grace of spiritual freedom that is being offered us is based on the wisdom that comes from this insight into these underlying movements.
All we have to do this week is reflect on the two ways. I might keep repeating in my head, no matter what I’m doing or where I’m going, Riches, honors, pride. Poverty, dishonor, humility.
Eventually, I’ll find ways to flesh it out as I keep rolling it around in my head and let it interact with my daily experiences: Having more leads to thinking I am more, which leads to pride. Being spiritually or actually poor leads to being perceived as being less, which leads to humility.
My desire to really understand these dynamics is fed by my growing desire to know, love, and serve Jesus. It is almost exhilarating to see clearly how Jesus, who loves me and is attracting me to himself, is liberating me with these insights and with a growing desire to be with him in the patterns of his life.
As our devotion grows, we might use a very simple exercise to dramatize the seriousness of our desire and the depth of our sincerity. It’s as if we say to ourselves, “I really do want these graces.”
We might first turn to Mary, Jesus’ dear mother, whom we spent time imagining these past weeks. We can ask her to beg her son, on our behalf, to give us these graces. We can name them. We can say we want to understand these ways of desiring and to be given spiritual poverty, and even actual poverty, if that would help us serve God more and help us save our souls. If it helps, our prayer to Mary could end with the Hail Mary.
Then we might turn to Jesus and ask him to beg his God and Father, on our behalf, for the same graces. And if it helps, our prayer to Jesus could end with the Soul of Christ.
Finally, we might turn to our God and beg on our own behalf for these graces. And our prayer to God could end with the Lord’s Prayer.
We remember that our progress is by God’s gift. And one gift opens the way for our receiving another. We have seen how these graces prepare us for new graces. All we need to do is stay open and trusting that the One who brought us this far along our journey will graciously remain faithful in bringing us to its conclusion.