Recently I wrote about the jealousy of God who loves us so.
Today I confront something within my own life, more in my emotions than heart, which is not pleasant to face.
I see more deeply now areas within me which undoubtedly trigger Divine Jealousy, most often experienced as Him pulling away until I see what He wishes to have me willingly face and hand over to Him for transformation, conversion, healing.
Two events have prompted this reflection.
The second in an email from a priest, who writes frequently needing affirmation, something I am pleased to give him as best I can, always with assurance of fraternal affection and prayer.
Part of loving one another, as we know, as Christ loves us is to affirm one another, listen to each other, pray.
The first event and the one which has been a source of intense emotional upheaval, resistance to the Holy Spirit trying to inform, teach, touch, heal, and came in the form of a single word in the midst of another note.
One single word: exclusive!
The word was in a note from a friend of a friend about why I would not be included in a trip to the mountains, as in: “sometimes we need exclusive time together.”
First I was totally shocked by the word, then by its implications, and for days now by the emotionally explosive impact.
Many of us, in spite of repeated toe-stubbing experience to the contrary, continually figure we can make it to the kitchen for a middle of the night snack or to the bathroom in the dark.
Those who learned the lessons about the silliness of repeated toe-stubbing either use night lights or put on the main lights.
I will confess this stubborn old man still egotistically figures if he tries just one more time and stays utterly focused he will make it – not!
Like spouses, whose only exclusivity of relationship in the sanctity of marriage is sealed, rooted, lived, grows, in Christ – thus paradoxically because He is their shared bond, friend in that sense there is no exclusivity, priests vowed to chastity likewise have foresworn any ‘exclusive’ relationship other than with Jesus, and thus in and through and for Him have an all-inclusive relationship with every human being, some close such as parishioners, in my case the homeless, as well as family, personal friends and by extension every human being – but the moment any of those relationships be extra-Christ, that is either excluding Him directly or in the person of someone else seeking to be included, we have begun to forget who we are as priests, as baptized disciples of Jesus who calls us to love others as He loves us.
So what a shocker that word: exclusive.
A shocker not primarily because I was being excluded, rather my reaction.
Granted like thousands of priests these days I live in a type of perpetual exclusion, exiled and denied association and fraternity with other priests, for example.
Approaching seventy as more and more confreres, family members, friends die that is another type of ‘exclusion’ which unfolds. This is natural but I suspect, for me at least, not yet fully embraced.
Certainly the intensity of grief the other day when a beloved priest friend-brother died proves the point.
Though I suspected it was happening, and like the proverbial stubborn-nighttime-toe-stubber kept ignoring brut fact, I have been in denial that I have formed particular attachments.
What a pickle!
It is part of the work of the Holy Spirit in calling us to open ever wide the doors of our being to true purity of heart, detachment, to having Jesus as our love-focus, indeed forming us to be intimately the beloved of the Divine Bridegroom, that He, with a surgeons skill, though often it feels like He has skipped giving anesthetic – seeks to excise anything within us that is globs of darkness, not to mention sin.
Sure seems these days His scalpel, which is actually the laser like light of His love, is that word: exclusive.
I assumed, since 99% of the time it is true, whenever I am blessed to spent time with one or the other in particular of the two friends I always had Jesus with us and certainly when it is we three it is actually we four.
Clearly while that may be my prayer, my intent, in my old age, feeling more and more vulnerable and insecure a neediness has taken root, a type of dependency – no wonder I am experiencing the jealously of God!
So I have been praying this all be healed and thus for the grace NOT to resist the Divine Surgeon and my eyes fell on this word from the Servant of God Catherine Doherty, which prompted these reflections:
“What is friendship? It is never exclusive. It is two people, hand in hand, as it were, going to God – but never forming a closed circuit and simply feeding on each other. They always have one hand free to hold anyone who comes into that friendship.”
It is a word from the Tender Holy Spirit, a reminder, an invitation for me to be much more vigilant over my heart and emotions, indeed to imitate and be one with Jesus who is excluded from so many souls, to embrace in all its dimensions the pain of exclusion for love of Him, for souls.
“The word of God is something alive and active; it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely; it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from Him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the One to whom we must give account of ourselves. [Hb.4:12-13]