On first reading this I felt that it was perhaps a little dramatic and that there wasn’t much for me to really reflect on – perhaps I should move on to another letter.
“I give it no further thought as, thanks be to God, without being a St. Francis de Sales or a St. Teresa, there is little that I desire, and the little I desire I desire but little. It is not only in recent days that the world’s show has seemed but a passing shadow to me; I live in habitual awareness that I have only a limited number of days to live, and obliged as I am to work from dawn to dusk, I do it only as a duty, like a man who has been given one of the most painful of penances by the Master to whom all obedience is due..” (Letter To Father Courtès, at Aix February 18, 1832: 415:VIII in Oblate Writings)
It all sounds dramatic and I was so sure there was nothing here for me. But from a deeper place I found myself asking exactly what do I have that is important to me, as in what am I hanging onto? What do I need to let go of? What am I willing to let go of? And most seriously why do I need to let go, why do I need to detach myself – it cannot be for no reason? Why do I give this credence?
These are not comfortable or feel-good questions. I want to say that I have already given up so much, that I have let go of so much. Now I need to look at what I have not let go of and why they are so important that I hang on to them – be they wounds, books, wants or desires. I did not expect this and am not entirely sure that I am happy about it. Like all else it seems this will take time.