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The Essence of Devotion

Devotion is a special gift of the Holy Spirit which disposes the soul to whatever good work. Frequently people confuse devotion with emotion. Certainly, devotion contains some ingredients of affection, but it is essentially something different.

To summarize it, devotion is readiness, willingness, or even better, availability. Sometimes, only sometimes, it is the result of a divine visitation that becomes present during prayer, and sustains the soul in great faithfulness to prayer activity.

Devotion makes us strong in order to overcome difficulties; it staves off half-heartedness, fills the soul with generosity and helps to overcome trials with ease.

The essence of devotion is not emotion; instead it is readiness and resolution. In the crisis of Gethsemane, Jesus felt aridity and tedium; but at the same time, He was willing and resolved to fulfill the will of the Father.

Nevertheless, as we said, devotion does contain some emotional components, a sentimentality that is often a factor of temperament. But this emotion is not necessarily proportional to true love. The exact thermometer to measure the degree of love is the disposition to fulfill the will of the Father.

We can affirm that all devotion joyfully felt, that propels the soul to overcome itself through self denial, is good. Otherwise, it contains subtle dangers of narcissism, spiritual gluttony, or some other thing similar to a subtle, alienating egoism.

It may be that one is searching for the sweetness of God instead of the God of sweetness.

Extracted from the book “Journey Towards God” by Fr. Ignacio Larrañaga


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