Let me start with a story: Imagine you’re at a symphony. The orchestra is playing the most beautiful music you’ve ever heard and you’re completely wrapped up in the moment. Then you realize you might have left your car unlocked. If you leave the symphony, you can’t re-enter until intermission, so you stay. That nagging thought about your car won’t leave you alone, however, so you can no longer enjoy the music the same way nor can you resolve the issue with your car.
This is an illustration of life. God’s creation and the love that is shared throughout our world is this symphony. There are times where we’re completely absorbed in the present moment and we feel and experience that love and witness the beauty of His creation, His symphony. Most of the time, however, one thing or another distracts us from enjoying life (just like the unlocked car in the above story). Whatever pulls us from that enjoyment is an attachment and the presence of those attachments keep us from fully living our lives as God meant us to.
Look at everything Jesus tells us in scripture and you’ll see how true this is. Take, for example, his comments about the birds and flowers not worrying about being cared for. They don’t have any attachments and so they enjoy God’s love and creation uninhibited. Our worries, cares and attachments prevent us from this same experience.
We’ve all heard that it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich person to enter heaven. Certainly Heaven does not look at our net worth when deciding who enters and who doesn’t (as there have been many Saints who were wealthy during their lives). Instead, think of that “richness” as the quantity and vastness of our attachments. It’s our own attachments that hold us back, just like our own sin that distances us from God (not the other way around). Like with everything else, this is from our own choice, not punishment from God. We need to detach ourselves from these “things” in order to fully receive God and His love. In turn, that will prepare us for Heaven. Without these attachments, we too will be able to pass through the eye of that needle.
(Note: as much as I’d like to take credit for this great story, I read it in “A Way to Love” by Fr. Anthony De Mello).