In reading, reflecting on, and praying over the Gospels, I have discovered that most of Jesus’ teachings – and indeed the whole thrust of his life – is about detachment. Often there are direct teachings on detachment, like “deny yourself…lose your life”. Other times, we may not recognize detachment or letting go, as in Jesus’ teachings on forgiveness. What else is forgiveness but letting go of identifying with past hurts? The earliest Christian hymn celebrates this fundamental truth in Jesus when it sings: “[Jesus] emptied himself” (see the Letter to the Philippians chapter 2). Self-emptying, detachment, letting go, surrender: “Father into your hands I commend my spirit”, as Jesus says before he dies in the Gospel of Luke. Even his teachings on love of others and enemies includes a great deal of detachment: letting go of self-absorption and self-concern to attend to and fully accept the other. Faith, too, is about letting go – detaching from certainty, knowing with my senses only.
The other side of Jesus’ teachings on letting go is singleness of heart: intending and loving God above all. It is Jesus calling us to fully adhere to the first commandment: only God is God. So let go of everything else (all the little gods or idols) and let God be God. Seek first the kingdom of God. Blessed are those of single heart, they will see God. Detachment is having a single heart: a heart reserved for God alone. Letting God be God is to let go of all else. Faith coincides with self-emptying, utter selflessness – divine selflessness for it is by Grace that we can let go and intend God alone.