Again, we have quailed and been tormented in our obscurity, we have fretted and been anxious because of our limitations, set by our own nature and by our surroundings. The tasks are so great, and we have accomplished so little, and been assigned such lowly talents and occupations. But instructed in one point of view of the paradox, we bestride the mountains or the valleys of earthly importance with a holy indifference, contempt, and detachment. Placed in coveted surroundings, recipients of honors, we count them as refuse, as nothing, utterly nothing. Placed in the shadows, we are happy to pick up straw for the love of God. No task is so small as to distress us, no honor so great as to turn our heads.
Such loosening of the chains of attachment is easy, if we be given times of a sense of unutterable nearness to Himself. In those moments, what would we not leave for Him? What mean honors and dishonors, comforts or wants, in Him? For some persons, in such moments, the work of detachment, contemptus mundi, exists chiefly as an intellectual obligation, ominously hovering over their heads as duty, but not known as experienced joy in the new freedom of utter poverty. Still others obstruct this detachment, reject it as absurd or unneeded, and cling to mammon while they seek to cling to God . . . . Totalitarian are the claims of Christ. No vestige of ‘our’ rights remain.”