“In order to enjoy, know, possess, and be everything – desire to enjoy, know, possess, and be nothing.”
St. John of the Cross likened the spiritual life to ascending a mountain. There are several paths that lead up the mountain, but only one that makes it all the way to the top – the path of nothing.
The Path of Nothing requires sacrificing everything. We’re called to detach ourselves, deprive ourselves, renounce ourselves, annihilate ourselves to die spiritually to ourselves and all things in order to pursue perfection of the spiritual life.
Why do we have to give up everything?
The Gospel has the first part of our answer: “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” Mt 13:44
When we find something of infinite value, we drop everything else to pursue it. For many of us, the closest example of this is what we do for the love of our lives. Suffering through long distance, moving across the country, switching jobs, giving up our dream career, etc. When we find treasure, we sacrifice for it.
Secondly, to make this journey – we need to cut the fat, which in ascending the Mount of Perfection is everything. Everything that doesn’t conform to God’s will is deadweight that we can’t bring with us. For this reason, St. John of the Cross says at the summit “Only the Honor and Glory of God remain” Everything else has been left behind.
St. John of the Cross left us the map. It’s not an easy trek, but we know what to do. If it doesn’t fit God’s will, cut it loose.
Be the Men.