Intimacy with Christ


Some of what has appeared here over the last several weeks has been pretty heavy going. I do intend to continue my series about contemplation as an essential part of the life of the lay Catholic and how ordinary people can lead contemplative lives. But I thought a more gentle and measured introduction might be in order.

from Awakening Your Soul to the Presence of Christ
Fr. Kilian Healey, O.Carm.

Since Jesus in one with God the Father, union with Jesus--even in this world--is the purpose of our life. He is the One whom we must love most deeply, so that we may reach the perfection of nature and find true happiness. To love Jesus of Nazareth with an intimate, personal love is to love God with an intimate, personal love, for Jesus is God.

Therefore, if we have Jesus in His sacred humanity ever before our eyes, if we look upon Him with love and try to live a life of personal friendship with Him, pleasing Him in all things, we will have already attained, to some degree, an intimate love of God.

Now we can understand why it is so helpful to meditate on the life of Jesus and why St. Teresa of Avila could suggest this method to her nuns: "The soul can picture itself in the presence of Christ, and accustom itself to become enkindled with great love for His sacred humaity and to have Him ever with it and speak with Him, ask Him for the things it has need of, make complaints to Him of its trials, rejoice with Him in its joys, and yet never allow its joys to make it forgetful of HIm. It has no need to think out set prayers, but can use just such words as suit its desires and needs."

I suppose this could start as a form of meditation, deliberately placing yourself before Jesus Christ in His humanity and talking to Him as one would talk to a friend. The practice of this meditation would eventually have transforming effects upon the soul itself. It would become a habit, to take the title of Flannery O'Connor's book of Letters, "a habit of being." But in this habit is a kernel, a core of reality that exists nowhere else. Because my identity is in Christ alone, so it is in Christ alone that I am really who I am--in whom I have my being. So it is only in and through Him that I can attain a "habit of being." Outside of Jesus I have the tendency to falsify who I am, to present the "company face" to the world at large; I wear one of several masks that depend upon the role I may be playing at the time. Obviously this is not always true, but it is true often enough that I should seek to base my identity and my life (if it is to be authentic) upon who I am in Jesus Christ. The only way I can do this is to spend time talking to Him and discovering who He says I am. It's interesting that Jesus asked Peter "Who do you say I am?" Once again, He gave us the model for what we should do. When I go before Him in prayer one of the things I should seek to discover is who Jesus says I am. Then, with His grace and love, I should seek to live out that reality. If more of us really sought our identities in Christ and lived them out, the transformation in society would be apocalyptic and wonderful. But it is both scary and difficult to look in that mirror. So we need a companion, once again the reason to stand or sit with Christ in prayer and talk. He is our companion, the One who can help us be.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 5, 2004 7:45 AM.

Introducing Philip Gulley was the previous entry in this blog.

A Hit! A Palpable Hit! is the next entry in this blog.

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