The Christian detachment

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

TO be consistent to our Christian identity and vocation, we need to live a certain type of detachment that involves a certain self-emptying that would fill us completely with the spirit of Christ. That’s because in the end what truly matters in our life is that we be so identified with Christ that we can rightly be called “another Christ.”

Christ said this clearly. “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Lk 14,25)

Yes, it’s a detachment that goes all the way to even be willing to lose our life. Such detachment can only show how much we believe, love and follow Christ. Indeed, it’s a tremendous, hard, if not impossible requirement to fulfill, but, for sure, if Christ could do it himself, we too could also do it as long as we believe, love and follow him fully.

Obviously, to abide by that standard we need to go through a long, if not life-long process of developing that spirit of detachment. It’s not going to be easy, but let’s be convinced beyond doubt that this is what is needed by us and that Christ will always be there to help us.

And we should never be afraid or hesitant to live such detachment, because as Christ himself assured us in another occasion, we should be seeking first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all the other concerns and necessities we have will be taken care of. (cfr. Mt 6,33)

As we can see, what is needed here first is a strong and working faith, which is actually a gift God gives us but to which we have to correspond as fully as possible. With that faith, we know that what is impossible with us is always possible with God.

Such faith would enable us to echo Christ’s words: “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, but not as I will, but as you will.” (Mt 26,39) And while hanging on the cross, he at first complained, “My God, my God, what have you forsaken me.” (Mt 27,46) But later on, he rectified by saying, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” (Lk23,46)

To be sure, such detachment does not in any way mean a lack of love for our anyone or anything in this life. Let’s remember that everyone and everything comes from God and therefore should be loved the way God loves them. Christ even went to the extent of telling us to love our enemies.

But it is a love that does not preclude a certain detachment from people and things and even from our own life. It’s a love that starts and ends with God, and when people, things and even our life would stand in the way of our love for God, then we should be willing to detach ourselves from them so we can get to the real love.

To have this kind of understanding about detachment and to conform our life to it would certainly need a lot of sacrifice, discipline and God’s grace. But as long as we have a strong faith, we can hack it.

We just have to see to it that everyday there should be some act of detachment, so we can approach this ideal effectively. Thus, Christ told us to deny ourselves, carry the cross to follow him. (cfr. Mt 16,24)