St. John of the Cross speaks a great deal about “detachment” in the spiritual life. In one of his writings, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, he writes
"As long as this attachment remains, it is impossible to make progress in perfection, even though the imperfect be very small. It makes little difference whether a bird is tied by a thin thread or by a cord. Even if it is tied by a thread, the bird will be held bound…it will be impeded from flying as long as it does not break the thread." (Book One, 11.4)
St. John of the Cross illuminates a commonly overlooked part of anyone’s spiritual life and discernment. When someone makes the decision to follow God, and ultimately surrender to His will, that person must be willing to truly surrender ALL to the will of God. As human beings, this frightens us a little bit. The fear creeps in as to make the Christian believe that giving everything up will lead to unhappiness. However, if we look at the above quote those fears can be put to rest. Is the bird more free and happy when he is unable to fly or when he is stuck tied to the thread?
It is the same for discernment. There are things that tie us down and the first step to becoming detached is to identify those threads and cords that keep us from flying. Some are obvious while others are a little tricky to put a finger on. It will take some time to identify and let go of these burdens, obstacles, and hurdles, however, it can be done.
The Lord calls each and every person to sainthood. He calls each and every person to be with him for all of eternity. The Lord calls each and every person to strive for holiness. He calls each and every person to be who He created them to be. He created birds to fly. He created you for greatness, for holiness, for Heaven. What state in life, what vocation a person is called to helps achieve that greatness and leads others to do the same.
It’s time to cut the cord and soar—soar toward your ultimate fulfilment and happiness in the Lord.
God bless you in your discernment.