19 July 2015

Adoration and Idolatry

Think of common forms of idolatry… money, pleasure, power, celebrities, entertainment, diversion, status, self-improvement, health... How does one come to have these things as idols?

Habitual desire, combined with a sense of the limitlessness of the possible experience of a thing.  Adoration has always this character: that you rest in the contemplation of the infinitude of something.  And the contemplation of it, not as an object of interest, but as the ultimate object of interest, as an ultimate and unending good… this makes it idolatry.

Litmus test for idolatry: is there something in life which you contemplate as its own good, worthy of devotion, infinite and infinitely attractive, which is not God, and not referred somehow to God?

The principle and foundation of Ignatius comes to mind:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. 
And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created. 
From this it follows that man is to use them as much as they help him on to his end, and ought to rid himself of them so far as they hinder him as to it. 
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honor rather than dishonor, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.