DESIRE – JAMES 1:12-18

“Each person is tempted when lured and enticed by his desire.
Then desire conceives and brings forth sin,
and when sin reaches maturity it gives birth to death.
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers and sisters:
all good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.”

There are two kinds of desire present in the human heart,
and each of these desires has the power to give birth.
One conceives and brings forth sin,
giving birth ultimately to death.
The other, however, conceives from God himself,
from whom every good and perfect gift comes,
and in this way conceives and gives birth to life.

Ah, within the heart inside my breast
resides this movement, this choice…
And yet, when I look more deeply,
I realize that the desire of the inner heart,
the authentic desire of my unique person,
is not a desire of sin and temptation,
but a desire of truth, holiness, and love.
For, my dear God, Father of lights,
I have been born from you as a child of the light.
In your great love for me you have begotten me,
you have given birth to me as a firstfruits
of the new creation yet to come,
in which all will be united, eternally,
with you in the most intimate of embraces.

It is the desire of the surface, of the flesh
—the superficial fragmentation that pulls me away
from the sanctuary of this inner place—
the desires of compensation, of fear, of greed,
which come to me, not from you, my God,
but from my own fallen nature,
or from the world around me,
or from the evil spirit, who is jealous
of the love and intimacy that is mine with you.
But, dear God, this is not what defines me!
For what defines me is not the sum of my weaknesses,
my brokenness, my failures, and my sin,
but rather simply your love, Father,
what you, looking upon me, see in me!

Yes, and because you love me in this way,
and you yourself have created me,
those true, authentic human desires,
those must concrete and humble yearnings
that I experience each day—these are not,
my God, forms of temptation, to be repressed,
to be crushed by a firm hand.
No, they are to be welcomed, accepted,
and opened up, dear Lord, to you—
for from you alone comes the gift
that will satisfy the yearning of my aching heart.

Ah, the thirst for intimate personal communion,
for relationship with others,
for beauty, for happiness, for freedom,
for the playfulness of a child in each moment,
for the peace that is deeper than all things,
for the joy of abiding, unceasingly,
in the true dwelling-place of childhood
where I am alone with you, united deeply,
and in this place and from this place,
united to every other person too.
How could these desires, my God, be evil?
No, rather, they are the very matter of my life,
and you look upon them tenderly, lovingly,
touched with longing by the longing you see in me.

Yes, in your love for me, my God,
everything about me is important,
everything about me matters in your eyes,
for through it I have been formed, fashioned,
and in the midst of it all I live, I grow,
I suffer, I hope, I pray, and I strive.
But even more, my God,
in the midst of it all, and through it,
as through so many sacraments of grace,
you work unceasingly to touch me,
to love on me deeply, to heal me,
to embrace me and transform me,
until at last I abide in you,
and you in me, eternally.