Holy indifference seems to be coming up a lot lately in my conversations with various Directees. It gave me food for thought on how much St. Ignatius has really pegged spot on the way to live our lives in accordance with the divine will of our heavenly Father.
St. Ignatius’ Principle and Foundation – in my words – is
My only desire and my one choice should be – I want and I need what better leads me – to a deepening of God’s life in me.
God created us in the garden of Eden for what purpose? To know, love and serve him. Many people love those first two words of know and love – but serve God? I can hear the wheels turning – shouldn’t he serve us? I mean, he is God and we are not. He can do everything; I am weak, poor, lost, abandoned, rejected, trampled on, abused, etc. etc. etc. That’s the pity party of the influencer in our brains, thinking we deserve, we should be entitled, we are important. Of course we are. God wouldn’t have created us if we weren’t important to him. But sorry, we are not the end all.
God made us in his image, in his likeness. Unfortunately the incident in the garden brought concupiscence – the sin of selfishness to want more – and our image changed from his. But God makes good from our bad – he loves us so much and desires to be in union with us. He desires that we detach from the ugliness of Satan’s influence believing we have to prove our worth by how others see us. Satan sets us up to be in chains of performance, expectations and value. We know all too well that’s the way of the world – it’s the generic measure of power, pleasure and prestige. We flatter ourselves to think it is important for other to know just how we live, the things we have and how we are seen – all a false version of who we are meant to be.
When was the last time you can say you are the only one that matters Lord? Can you recall ever saying draw me to yourself and I will abandon everything for you, and then actually follow through? You will probably answer yes, well, I’ve tried. I want Christ to draw me to himself. I want that intimacy. But what happens is usually I can’t wait for it to happen. I start scheming in my brain all the things I will do to show him I am waiting, yet the activity indicates I am not abandoning all. Argh!
Detaching from my feelings of wanting to do, be, act are very strong. Yet in a state of holy indifference we seek and surrender; we say it doesn’t matter one way or the other; it is that time of choosing to wait for clarity with an openness of spirit; for the invitation to step forward, showing not necessarily the easy route but one in which gives the Father glory. I find this important not just in activity, but also in prayer. This is letting go what I think I should do and letting God draw me into union with him. St. Paul tells us in Romans “we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.” Oh Lord, intercede for me in all my ways, show me, lead me, guide me to your way – they are far above my ways. Help me to surrender my will to see your plan alone. Let me be still before and with you so you may fill me with yourself.
We are a mess of a people. But holy indifference can help. Whatever I want can be tempered because if I take the time to ask, does it really matter in the big scheme of life? How will being righteous over someone make me happier than having the last word? Must I be in perfect health? Can I accept that my body will eventually break down and I will see my last day? Do I choose health over sickness; can I detach from being afraid of the breakdown of my body? Choosing poverty over riches – if life in Christ is ordered for him to provide for my every need, do I need to yearn for what is not within my reach and hurt others by my useless greed? If I am dishonored by the words of another, can I let it go and accept their untruth, not say anything but pray for those that hurt me?
There are many examples of God’s grace flowing from those who understand holy indifference. It is surrender to self, to my will, desires, demands and laying my nothingness before the Father. It is slowing down, resting with the Lord and letting him call the shots. If I choose holy indifference then I place whatever he wants first. Pride wants me to think I know all the answers. To think all is black and white. Not so. Christ told us he came to make all things new. Yes, we walk with caution where we have been hurt but saying an absolute no or yes without considering there could be something more in the harder one actually can put us in jeopardy of having the influencer enter in with negative, critical thoughts or send us down rabbit holes. We must take it to prayer and ask the Father to help us accept holy indifference as a way of life here on earth.
God is in control. All created things came from him. Make your one and only desire be what leads YOU to a deepening of God’s life in you – exactly who you were created to be! Take his holy indifference on for size. Bet it could fit!