Authority arises from intimacy. And intimacy is about spending time with the beloved, lovers lingering together until…
Who knows? How long the lockdown? Next week? Month? When will the roar of ‘normal’ goad us into frantic action and dull our ardor for Him?
Not inclined to rush these days, I am quieted by Love. Deeper than human need, no doubt provoked by it, my hunger welcomes Jesus. He apprehends the ache and surrounds it. He is my desire, the only One who holds my gaze and eases my grasp on lesser objects.
I’ve no planes to catch, no early morning deadlines to deplete me before breakfast. I awake in the dark, rested and expectant, ready for Love. I light candles on the family ‘altar.’ Heavenly bodies beckon to me—Joseph protecting Mary and Son, St. John Paul ll praying for all to conceive new life in Jesus, then the Man Himself, His open body (envisioned by both St. Francis and Faustina) releasing yet again that river of Life. Only His climactic gift can cleanse and restore me.
I remain there for a couple hours until sunrise. Sort of lost in Love. I know that no-one loves me like He does but I tend to forfeit that grace by limiting love to a few minutes, often spent in wordy devotions. Done, box checked. Not the way to live in love; any long-married person will tell you that. Why do we treat Jesus worse than a long-suffering spouse?
Will the way change when the walls to the world come down? Hope not. Maybe I will proceed like I am loved, not stumbling over the debris that derides me. Maybe. To be strong is to be lovesick, overcome in the watches of the night.
I close with lyrics of a simple song—’Draw Me Close to You’–one I sing constantly, quietly, to Jesus:
‘Draw me close to You, never let me go. I lay it all down again, to hear You say that I’m your friend. You are my desire; no-one else will do. For nothing else could take Your place, to feel the warmth of Your embrace. Help me find a way, lead me back to You.’
My dreams reveal one frustrated guy. I wake up half-smiling at the heart’s antics: I can’t get out of the room or parking lot, no exit, strange humiliations where others have the upper hand and I am out-of-control. This lockdown may just make me loony. In that way, I am a thoroughly fallen American—you know, manifest destiny, don’t fence-me-in, smaller-the-government-the-better kind of stuff.
I am glad for Jesus’ mercy on my stalled but seething heart. And for His Church. On what may be the last homily I’ll hear in person for a while, Father Justin (what a guy) preached on the Samaritan woman. He centered on the fact that Jesus ‘had to go through Samaria’ (Jn. 4:4) in route to Jerusalem. Better put, He chose to go out of His way into this compromised and slightly hostile land in order to extend mercy to a compromised, slightly hostile woman.
Justin’s point? Jesus will go to any length to find you. He will tear up the map, overlook your rebellious thoughts and actions, and pierce every veil in you that repels ‘living water.’ He’ll wear Himself out just to look into your eyes and love you. Lockdowns give you a lot of time to just be loved.
Annoying. I want to act! I don’t want to be the object of desire, I want to be the subject, doing what I want! Well, well. Times have changed.
I was musing on how my roving heart is particularly unsuited for now when I ran into a woman (bad word choice; I kept a polite distance) for whom I had prayed but never met face-to-face. Abbey and I had seen her at different coffee joints; she was evidently trying to erase her womanhood and had adopted a male name.
We both caught her name and brought it into staff intercession. For about 6 months we regularly lifted her up and then, voila, she appeared. Grateful to shake off my self-concern for a moment, I gently told her that Jesus had placed her on my and another colleague’s heart, and that we felt a bit like we knew her as we gathered to pray and caught something of the Father’s love for His very special daughter. Simple. ‘God loves you that much,’ I said and went on my way.
My lockdown may well be an occasion to pray for Samaritans and to enter more deeply into His merciful heart for them. For all of us.
Please take time to watch our video and become ‘Chaste Together.’