Get In Touch With Your Desires

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

Embracing the Cross

By Theresa Matula

What do you do when you are at a crossroad facing a decision between the temporary pleasures of this world and the permanent lasting happiness that Christ won for you through the cross?

If you are a Christian, the answer is obvious.

Give up your comfort, give up your power and positions in this world, and run to the foot of the Cross. Well, not literally. Spiritually speaking, give everything you do to Him. Choose the Cross for this world, and in the next you will be fulfilled with the promise of everlasting life.

Unfortunately, even though we know the path that Jesus says is best for us, sometimes choosing it is not the easiest thing to do. Often, there are roadblocks standing between us and the Cross. Because we cannot see beyond them, or perhaps because we cannot even comprehend what the Cross has won for us, we seldom trust that there is anything beyond the earthly pleasures before us. In order to choose the Cross of this world, we have to first remove what is standing in our way.

We must have faith throughout the journey that beyond the roadblocks, beyond the small crosses that Christ bears with us on our journey, and ultimately beyond the Cross that Christ bore for us, is lasting happiness in heaven with Jesus.

Our goal is to get there.

But how do we get there?

The roadblocks that typically stand between us and Christ are everything we’ve ever wanted. They are also visible and physically present to us in this world unlike the promise of everlasting life which we cannot visibly see before us yet.

Perhaps a roadblock is a dream job? Perhaps it is your boyfriend or your girlfriend? Perhaps it is money? Perhaps it is a position of high standing? Perhaps it is fame?

All these things are good, but only if they are ordered towards helping us reach full communion with Christ. If they are holding us back and preventing us from reaching our final destination, the pursuit of them is disordered. If they are leading us to sin, then they are absolutely a roadblock that stands between us and Christ.

Perhaps they are well-intentioned people who tell us that we will be happier with worldly pleasures? Perhaps they are vices or attachments to sins in our life that we don’t want to let go? Perhaps they are pressures from secular media or the world’s idea of perfect?

Needless to say, whatever it is that is standing between us and our faith, it will be perfect, that is, perfect according to the world’s idea of perfect.

As Christians, however, we must reach beyond the world’s standard and grasp for what is truly good. We must strive for what is good for our soul, not just our bodies.

For the human person, this is truly a burden— a cross so to speak— but when united to the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made on the Cross for us, our burden becomes light, our soul is refreshed in the furnace so to speak, and our hearts are made ready to meet the King.

To gain the everlasting joy that Jesus promises us in heaven, we must embrace the Cross, and through this Cross, turn to Christ. Next, we must order our desires and our actions towards what can help us get to heaven.

Everything else that is unnecessary must be removed, especially the roadblocks. Once removed, we will be able to get to know Jesus much better.

At the end of the day, He is the Way. He is the Truth. Everything He teaches us through the Church is for our benefit, and like a Father anxiously awaiting His children, He is there to clear the road for us if we only give Him the opportunity.

Then Jesus said to his disciples “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.  What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”

Matthew 16:24-26
Happy Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!