Desire and the Spiritual Life

Expressing our desires brings us into a closer relationship with God. Otherwise, it would be like never telling a friend your innermost thoughts. Your friend would remain distant. When we tell God our desires, our relationship to God deepens.

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Desire is a primary way that God leads people to discover who they are and what they are meant to do. On the most obvious level, a man and a woman feel sexual, emotional and spiritual desire for one another, and in this way discover their vocations to be married. A person feels an attraction to being a doctor, or a lawyer, or a teacher, and so discovers his or her "vocation."

Desire helps us find our way. But we first have to know them.

The deep longings of our hearts are our holy desires. Not only desires for physical healing, but also the desires for change, for growth, for a fuller life. Our deepest desires, those desires that lead us to become who we are, are God's desires for us. They are ways that God speaks to you directly.

But desire gets a bad rap in many spiritual circles--because desires are often confused with selfish wants. But our selfish wants--I want a new car because my friend has one; I want a bigger TV because my brother-in-law has one; I want a more expensive suit so that people will think I'm cool--are different than our deep, heartfelt longings, which lead us to God. And it takes time to be able to discern between the two kinds of desires.

Desire is a key part of spirituality because desire is a key way that God's voice is heard in our lives. And our deepest desire, planted within us, is our desire for God.

Read the rest here on Good Morning America's site.

James Martin, SJ

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