Intimacy is one of those topics we don’t like to talk about unless it is in the context of darkened room with the person you trust the most in life, and even then, just with hushed tones and deflections of what you really mean. Like our avoidance of talking about sexual intimacy, ironically, it is argueably one of the most critical lessons humans can learn about what it means to be.
Intimacy is so important because it helps to unlock the mind to access the heart in a way that fulfills what it means to be human. It is, in a word, love. Like thinking about God, it is nearly impossible to define intimacy. I seek it every day as I try to have in me the mind of Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5), mostly falling far short of my resolve but always starting the quest again in a fresh day. I share with you some reflections I received from the Holy Spirit in my latest Lectio Divina.
THE INTIMACY OF GOD
At the center of who God is, is love. At the center of who love is, is all about sharing intimacy. God shares his being within the Godhead with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. How do we know that? God told us. Why would God tell us something so far out of the norm? Because we are adopted sons and daughters of the Father and this means we are intimate with God, as much as a human can be. God thought so much of all humans that He gave them reasoning for a reason and the ability to choose what is right or wrong for them. The Christ Principle is the only one that is authentic enough to lead us to our destiny. Why? It came from the very persons who created us. God left the imprint of his DNA on all that is, to use a somewhat imperfect analogy.
THE INTIMACY OF CHRIST PRINCIPLE
Jesus went to all the trouble to tell us about what we could not deduce with our logic, science, philosophy, or religion to share what the next stage of our evolution is, the spiritual universe. (Philippians 2:5-12) Christ became human to show us the way. Read what St. John says in Chapter 14:
* “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith* in God; have faith also in me.2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?3* And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.a4Where [I] am going you know the way.”*5Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”6Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth* and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.b7If you know me, then you will also know my Father.* From now on you do know him and have seen him.”c8Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father,* and that will be enough for us.”d9Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?e10Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.f11Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves.g12Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.h13And whatever you ask in my name, I will do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.i14If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it.
The Advocate.15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.j16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate* to be with you always,k17 the Spirit of truth,* which the world cannot accept because it neither sees nor knows it. But you know it, because it remains with you, and will be in you.l18I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.*19 In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me because I live and you will live.m20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you.n21 Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”o22 Judas, not the Iscariot,* said to him, “Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?”p23 Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.q24 Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.25 “I have told you this while I am with you. 26 The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.r27 Peace* I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.s28* You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’t If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I.29 And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.u30 I will no longer speak much with you, for the ruler of the world* is coming. He has no power over me,31 but the world must know that I love the Father and that I do just as the Father has commanded me. Get up, let us go.vhttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/14
Intimacy means Christ won’t leave us orphans after He ascends to the Father. Intimacy means we have the Advocate within us to keep us on the message until we die. We can’t hoard intimacy in our hearts. It is meant to be shared with others. What must be shared? The love of Christ.
THE INTIMACY OF THE GATHERING
Sharing intimacy that God shared with Christ and the Holy Spirit means that is the template for what it means to be a Catholic Universal. We give to others the Peace of Christ during the Eucharist before we receive the real body and blood of Christ. This Peace is not the absence of strive in us but the presence of love that we then share with those in Church, but also through the time until we gather together to proclaim the death of the Lord.
When we gather together in the name of the Lord, we do so mindfully of the seven unities that bind all things into one. Read what those unities are and ask yourself, “If God is one, what does that say about being intimate with those around us?”
Unity in the Body.1* I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,a2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,b3striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:c4* one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;d5one Lord, one faith, one baptism;e6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.f
Diversity of Gifts.7But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.g8Therefore, it says:
“He ascended* on high and took prisoners captive;
he gave gifts to men.”h9What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended into the lower [regions] of the earth?10The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.11* And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,i12to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,* for building up the body of Christ,13until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,* to the extent of the full stature of Christ,j14so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming.k15Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head,l Christ,*16from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.m
Renewal in Christ.*17 So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;n18 darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart,o19 they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.p20 That is not how you learned Christ,21 assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, 22 that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires,q23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,r24 and put on* the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.shttps://bible.usccb.org/bible/ephesians/4
INTIMACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL
Both you are I will die, sometime in the future. We have just seventy or eighty years on this earth, if we are lucky. Why is that? Part of solving the Divine Equation is about knowing the language of the spiritual universe. I must cultivate intimacy with Jesus and the Holy Spirit by using Lay Cistercian Practices and Charisms as tools. St. Benedict wrote his Rule as a School of Love to help us focus on Jesus in our hearts. Only Christ (Faith) allows each of us to grow in holiness of truth. It is also possible when those gathered together to give glory to the Father through the Son in union with the Holy Spirit pray and share the Holy Spirit within them with each other. Such an event is the Lay Cistercian Gathering Day for me, among other opportunities to be present to the heart of Jesus and just be there.
If, as St. Paul points out, there is One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism, what does this have to say about my sharing what Christ has shared with me?
Do you share this intimacy you received from Christ with your children? You can leave them money or property but if you don’t leave them how to be intimate with the unapproachable God, what have you left them as an inheritance.
Those loved ones who have died, now share the intimacy of Christ face to face in Heaven. Do you act as though they are still living but in the presence of the Throne of the Lamb? Do you talk to them and ask them to be an advocate for you while you still live on earth? Why not?
Don’t forget to take the test to see if you can answer the six questions of life. (See next blog)