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Detachment – Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Dictionary

November 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Detachment, Spiritual Dictionary

DETACHMENT: In asceticism the withholding of undue affection for creatures for the sake of the Creator. When mortal sin is involved, detachment is imperative for salvation. Detachment from creatures that are an obstacle to complete service of God is a normal condition for growth in holiness.

This Spiritual Dictionary Term is an excerpt from the Glossary of Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.



What is spiritual direction and my spiritual direction? What are my “blind spots” and how can I uncover them? What keeps me from all the spiritual riches Christ has for me? How can I better understand where I am in my spiritual progress?

Daniel Burke’s Navigating the Interior Life will give you the tools you need to understand how and why we grow and die in the spiritual life and what we can do about it.

Most of us have questions about spiritual direction. What is it? Is it for me? What if I can’t find a spiritual director? These questions and more are well answered in Dan Burke’s book. The Lord is clearly calling all Catholics into a deeper union with him. This book, in a style which is both inspiring and practical, provides some of the Church’s most important wisdom about how to respond to this call.

Ralph Martin, PhD, president, Renewal Ministries
and author of ‘The Fulfillment of All Desire'
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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • LizEst

    “Solo Dios basta.” (Only God suffices) Santa Teresa de Avila

  • GHM_52

    Together with “mis-judging” our brothers and sisters in Christ, detachment is awfully hard ….impossible to achieve except with God’s grace. This reminds me about Jesus’ holy words regarding His coming not to bring peace, but actually strife, as a result of which sons and daughters will be “enemies” of their parents, etc. That is what detachment is all about: as LizEst reminded us: we must be bound to God and not to anyone else, regardless of who that is, or to any object. Only God suffices.

  • bltpm

    How do I ACTUALLY get detached of my affections?

    I know God uses desolation as a means to point out areas that I”m attached to and help me get detached from created reality. But He’ll do this at His will and timing, great. I was wondering however, if by now I have finally got a clue on a few of my problem areas of attachment, how do I actually (really, really) get detached. It’s not like I can go to the dentist and pull out a sore tooth or perform plastic surgery in my soul. I can’t.

    For example. I’m overly attached to someone’s affection or recognition. I have prayed for God’s grace; so I know He’s going to answer me; I’m just afraid I’m missing the boat. He might be pointing it out, but because I don’t know what I”m looking for I don’t know how to identify as His work in my heart as detachment. (Not via desolation, but is there any other way?)

    • Dear Friend – God is clearly at work in you. In my book, Navigating the Interior Life, I outline how to overcome sin or attachments and to pursue virtue in a meaningful way. Have you read the book yet?

      • bltpm

        Thanks Dan. I’m on page 61, and have started to outline my heritage. (btw – I don’t think I have ever highlighted, circled, noted a book as I have so far!) Ok,I won’t ask questions until I’m done with this AWESOME book. I feel I have found a gold mine and I just can’t wait to explore all its nooks and crannies!!!! So much work ahead of me, I”m so excited!

        • We are grateful that this is such a blessing to you. If you have the time and inclination, please go to Amazon and write a review for us.

          • bltpm


            This book is a how-to-design a strategy plan for you to reach total unity with God.

            It is well grounded in research from more than 2000 years of spiritual wisdom. It’s concise size and practical advice is very well written; leaving the reader ready to engage in the work set before him. The book guides the reader in a step by step process in:

            1) Understanding the role of a spiritual director

            2) Making one’s self assessment

            3) Understanding the process from sinner to saint.

            What I loved about it, is that it shows us mortals what OUR part in the process to holiness is; how to organize it; and what to do about it. The rest we can rest assured that assuming we’re doing our part, God WILL come to meet us in the process and take us deep into contemplation, with the hope being total union with Him, of course.

            A must have to anyone reading thru spiritual books and wondering how in the world do I lay a plan that is tangible, concrete, measurable and realistic for to achieve holiness. This book will help you craft the roadmap and once crafted -everything else falls into place and the reader understands exactly where and how it can aid him towards the summit of his holy journey!

          • LizEst

            Great review, bltpm! God bless you!

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