Dissipation1. Dissipation leads to tepidity, and tepidity leads to sin. Why are we dissipated? So much beauty and goodness surrounds us, created by God for our benefit. It often happens that when we gaze on worldly beauty, we become inordinately attached to it. We see worldly goods and desire too ardently to possess them. We forget that the beauty of this earth is only a fleeting reflection of the eternal beauty of God, and that the good things of creation are gifts from God. Everything which is good and beautiful in this world, therefore, should raise our minds and hearts towards God and prompt us to love Him Who created it. Unfortunately, we often stop half-way, forget God, and begin to seek in creatures the perfect satisfaction which they are incapable of giving us.
Dissipation is the neglect of spiritual things and the inordinate attachment to creatures. It causes us to lead worldly lives and to think only of material interests, money, pleasure, and sometimes sin. If we find that we have fallen into this wretched state, let us act at once. Let us remember that we were not created like the animals for the satisfaction of the senses, but were made for everlasting spiritual happiness. Only God can satisfy our immortal souls, whereas created things, loved for their own sake, eventually leave us bitter and disillusioned. “What does it profit a man,” asks Sacred Scripture, “if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of his own soul?” (Mt. 16:26)
2. If we forget God in our frantic search for creatures, God leaves us alone. No longer do we experience His inspirations and the desire to be holy and to gain Heaven. Our lives become mediocre. We do not wish to fall into serious sin, because we have not lost the fear of God and are still capable of remorse of conscience. Our intellects and wills, however, have become entangled in worldly objects. We rarely think of God, because we are preoccupied with worldly affairs.
What is to be the outcome of all this? We cannot remain in this state very long. Our spiritual life lacks the supernatural nourishment of grace, with the result that slowly but surely we slip from dissipation into sin. “With desolation is all the land made desolate,” laments the Holy Spirit, “because there is none that considereth in the heart.” (Jer. 12:11)
3. Imagine the death of the dissipated man. When he reaches the end of his earthly journey, it will seem to him as if he has awakened from a dream. Everything is over now. Gone forever are the objects of desire which he exerted himself so feverishly to acquire. He is alone before God. Money, ease, and pleasure have vanished like snow melting in the sun.
Please God we shall never experience this fearful reawakening. Let us rouse ourselves now, while there is still time, from our spiritual torpor. May God be our first thought and our first desire. May constant prayer, detachment from the world, and steady progress in perfection win for us the everlasting happiness of Heaven.