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A Radical Love for God


Ascetical practices are a form of sacrifice, but they are never enough for a deeper spiritual life

PeterCrucifiedThey may strengthen spiritual discipline, but this is too narrow a view of sacrifice, missing its essential purpose.  Self-denying mortifications can be managed simply by will power alone and lack love, without which sacrifice falsifies its name.  What our crucified Lord Jesus would prefer from us is something more serious in love than the customary renunciations that are part of any good life.

He wants sacrificial acts in the inner life that can unleash a fire within the undercurrents of our soul.  He desires us to step over the edge, as it were, in offering ourselves to him in the privacy of interior prayer.  He waits for bold, irreversible acts of surrender in prayer that cannot be taken back, like marriage vows, dissolvable only in death, yet repeated continually in life.  Every intense sacrificial offering of this kind stretches love into the buried depths of the soul.  These acts inflame our soul's passion for God; afterward, inevitably, they compel actions of generosity for others

All radical love for God may hide its deeper mystery within such private offerings made in the quiet of prayer.  Unknown but to God himself, these acts pronounce a willingness to sacrifice everything for love of him as our beloved Lord and God.



haggertyFr. Donald Haggerty. "A Radical Love for God" from Contemplative Enigmas: Insights and Aid on the Path to Deeper Prayer (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 2020).

Reprinted with permission from Ignatius Press. Image credit: Caravaggio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Author

haggerty1Fr. Donald Haggerty, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is currently serving at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He has been a Professor of Moral Theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in New York and Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland and has a long association as a spiritual director for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity. He is the author of Conversion: Spiritual Insights into an Essential Encounter with God, as well as Contemplative ProvocationsContemplative Enigmas: Insights and Aid on the Path to Deeper Prayer, and The Contemplative Hunger.

Copyright © 2020 Ignatius Press
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