One of the many things I appreciate about Ignatian Spirituality is the significance it places on working with desire and longing – to finding more readily what one desires. That said, David Runcorn rightly suggests that “The Church is still struggling to express a vision for Christian desire and vocation that naturally integrates love for God within and through the raw, erotic earthiness of human longing”
“…Desire, Philip Sheldrake observes, “is at the heart of all spirituality. It is an energy that powers spirituality”, a spirituality that is concerned with how people discern God’s invitations within desire and longing. Christian spirituality, he argues, embodies the sense that fundamental to what it means to be human is a deep restlessness that can only be satisfied in God.15 Desire is a central reality in what Sheldrake calls “the human search for God, and God’s search for humanity.” Christian spirituality doesn’t just have a passing interest in desire, it centers on desire.
Sheldrake tells us “desire is best understood as our most honest experience of ourselves, in all our complexity and depth as we relate to people and things around us.” Authentic desire arises from what Thomas Merton called our ‘true selves’ rather than as hyper- stimulated responses to the “wants” encouraged by marketing and advertising. This kind of ‘shallow-consumption’ most often only encourages our continuing dislocation from the authentic, the deep and the real…”
I was therefore interested in a recent lecture by Australian Hugh MacKay. Mackay had his latest book What Makes Us Tick? published in 2010. In it “he identifies ten key "social desires" linked to personality, identity, relationships, and that influence our approaches to love and friendship, family, work, and community…” (For more on the book, go here.)
It’s an interesting book and approach to starting to get at the deeper places in our lives. Important too are the interesting places it takes you in terms of your own longings, workplace issues, Ignatian Spirituality, your relationships with those close to you etc etc.
Recently The Sydney Institute had MacKay deliver a 35-minute lecture (plus questions and answers) on the place of desire in our lives, and in particular the ten desires that he believes lie at the heart of what it means to be a human being. You can find the podcast here.