“Remain in me, as I remain in you.” John 15:4
Okay. I know that I over-think things, sometimes to an obnoxious degree, but I just couldn’t understand the morning Gospel. It might have been the word “in”.
I could see how Jesus could be “in” me through the Eucharist, Baptism, and Confirmation, but how could I be “in” Jesus? I didn’t get it, so I ambushed Father Tom in the sacristy after Mass and asked the expert.
“Jesus can be in me through the Sacraments, but how can I be in Him?”
As he hung up his vestments, Father Tom replied, “In the same way.”
For the briefest moment, I wondered if his response included the word “in” just to drive me mad. I pressed on, admitting that I still didn’t get it.
“A relationship, or a connection, goes both ways.”
Hmmm. But a connection is external, I thought. When I plug in my tablet to recharge it, the outlet and the tablet are connected, but they aren’t in each other. Because I knew my pastor had to leave for the funeral of a close friend, I took my analytical neuroses out of the sacristy and into the chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I have a daily ritual, where I ask Jesus for a word to apply to my day. Today’s word was intimacy.
Funny how the culture affects us in subtle ways. The word intimacy made me blush as if it could only be applied to sexual love. I even questioned Him, asking if I had heard Him right, but yes, the word for the day was intimacy.
It was time to walk the dog with my husband. As we waited for Buster to finish his roll in the grass (his attempt to get his face harness off) I asked the hubby what he thought intimacy meant.
“Honesty. Openness. A sharing of yourself with another.”
Amazing. Twenty-six years of marriage and the man still surprises me. I was pondering his response when it hit me: Father Tom, Jesus, and the hubby had all been saying the same thing. All three had answered my question—they couldn’t have been clearer—only I hadn’t heard.
When I receive the Eucharist or confess my sins in Reconciliation, it is the most intimate connection I can have with Jesus, but I can only receive the benefits of the Sacraments if I am open to letting them in. I can only receive Jesus because He pours Himself out for me. He offers me everything.
Jesus can receive me, but only if I respond in kind. Only if I am completely honest with him. Only if I share myself—my entire self and not just the parts I think are acceptable. Then we have a relationship or a two-way connection. He is in me, and I am in Him.
I can also work to be open in my relationships and with people I interact with throughout my day. This doesn’t mean sharing inappropriately with strangers and acquaintances. It means intimacy according to the hubby’s definition. Honesty. Speaking the truth to them without fear. Openness. Seeing Jesus in them and standing ready to show them Jesus through my words and actions. Sharing myself with others, rather than granting them the time and energy I feel they deserve.
A two-way connection. A relationship. Intimacy. Honesty. Openness. A sharing of myself with others. Now I get it. I just need to do it.
©Jacqueline Vick, 2017