A friend once asked me if I have any good advice, I thought for a moment, then I responded: “Get in touch with your desires.”
I know many people who fulfill all of their Catholic obligations and consider themselves “good Catholics” for following the rules. However, there is more to the faith than simply following the rules; our faith is about an encounter with the Infinite, who calls you on an adventure beyond your wildest dreams!
I have spent time in Catholic circles, and it seems many people go through the motions and try to put up pretenses that they are devout because they are doing “all the Catholic stuff.” Being Catholic is not about acting a certain way or following rituals for their own sake— rather, it is about participating in traditions that allow us the opportunity to get to know the God-man, Jesus Christ, and have Him transform, heal, and love us.
So, what does it mean to get in touch with one’s desires? Some people in life—myself included—can have trouble looking forward to Heaven because why would we want a God who feels so far away as we’re wrestle with boredom during prayer? Why would we want eternal bliss if it merely means what we typically associate with it— chilling on clouds and not doing anything all day? I want to go on adventures, parkour, carry a sword, drink terrific drinks, eat delicious food, hang out with my friends, watch movies, make art… Not peacefully sit on a cloud for eternity.
And if this is calling you out—good. I am not scolding you; I merely want us to acknowledge the truth about our dispositions and work with what is in our hearts.
This is where our desires come into play.
Pope John Paul II talks much of this in the Theology of the Body. He uses the word “eros” over and over. Eros, properly understood, means:
The upward impulse of the heart towards anything that is good, true, and beautiful.
We all have desires, whether they be good or distorted by sin. Often when we encounter one of our desires, we have this reaction in us that feels as if our heart is being lifted up. That is Eros. Because God, our infinite and awesome father, is the source of all goodness, truth, and beauty, when we experience eros, we are experiencing a piece of God and being called by Him. So, if we acknowledge our desires, we can realize that our desires are good, (not necessarily what we desire, but the actual passion in itself) and that somehow God is at the foundation of this desire, because he is the source of all good. God did not create anything evil, he created all things good.
When we realize we have a misguided desire, we should give it to the Lord and ask Him to heal and sanctify that desire. He wants to turn it into something awesome, budding with eternal sweetness and goodness, and we just have to be open for Him to do so. This purification can be painful, but through the healing power that Christ brings, those twisted desires become untwisted, and the healing light of Christ shines through them anew with His glory!
Therefore, if we get in touch with our desires, realize God that is at the heart of them, and ask Him to reveal Himself through our desires, those same desires will carry us to Him because those desires were made for Him in the first place. We will find that He is the source of everything we love and will actually understand (as far as we are able to) that every beautiful and good thing in this life is merely a glimpse of Him— our ultimate desire. This allows us to look forward to Heaven with incredible hope because we realize that God is greater than our wildest dreams, and He is the manifestation of our greatest wants.
This is such a beautiful mystery of our faith, but don’t only take my word for it— ask Christ. Better yet, tell Him. Be honest with Him. Go to Him with your greatest desires and greatest dreams— no matter what they are— and He will show you His glory. What will that look like? Well, that’s for Christ to know and you to find out.
Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:4