There is an economic concept described as “creative destruction.” In summary, new economic development arises out of the destruction of a prior economic structure. This internal mechanism of capitalism is understood to reconfigure the means of production from older technologies to newer, from scarce resources to more efficient substitutes, and from outmoded products to current needs.
Jesus’ teachings in today’s Gospel passage could be interpreted through this lens of “creative destruction.” Jesus here upsets the social constructs in order to give focus to his mission. He moves people from worldly values and mores to a focus on what He teaches and preaches. Jesus’ saying that “whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” is a way of experiencing creative destruction: dying to self is the source of creating new life.
One key aspect of Ignatian spirituality is that of letting go of inordinate attachments. These worldly attachments – honors, riches, pride – may seem safe and desirable in our material world, but ultimately hold us back from “dying to self,” and thus from allowing God to create new life within and through us.
Where in my life do I seem to struggle to hold onto something, even when it would seem better to let it go?
Can I possibly imagine what new life God desires to create within me if only I can let go of some pet goal or personal objective – that is, to allow God’s Will to be done rather than my own will?
—Fr. Glen Chun, S.J. is minister of the Loyola University Jesuit Community, Chicago, and also serves on the vocations staff for the Chicago-Detroit Province of the Society of Jesus