Love is to be the home of the other

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In John’s farewell letters, Jesus reveals himself and shares the intimacy of his heart. It is as if he allows not only the beloved disciple but everyone to lean on his chest, feel his body against ours and receive him.

Belgian Jesuit Ägid van Broeckhoven experienced the vocation to be a mystic of friendship. In the diaries of a working priest, who died young, an idea from today’s Gospel is repeated over and over again: “Love means to be the abode of another.” Loving and living are related to each other. Theologically speaking, one speaks of the “mutual presence” generated by the Holy Spirit. Three God dwells in us, and incomprehensible closeness and longing take place in him. But the question arises: how is this done? The experiences of closure, fear, and wounding are not extinguished by the dwelling of God. A person trapped has hardly any space – neither for himself, nor for others, nor for someone completely different. The fact that I was not often able to open my room to visitors made me suffer, especially in my first few years in the community. When I was taken captive in an old Carmelite, he understood, but added: “Hospitality is important, it can do so much good.” Today, twenty years later, I can feel just how healthy he is.

Experiences of emptiness, temptation, and doubt expand the inner space and deepen the understanding of oneself and others. Friendship receives impulses from acceptance of one’s heart and becomes a shared life. Ägid describes it this way: “True love is the disclosure of one’s intimacy to someone; God has done it in such a way that we will never fully understand. Lord, I have also revealed our intimacy with you; it may not have been so rich”, but I entrusted it to you to the gutter.”

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Jesus associated himself with us in a way of friendship. The return to the Father that we call “the ascension” does not mean leaving his friends. Otherwise, could he love his father so much? The Father is love, kindness, embrace, the source and space of friendship. Those who feel it experience the peace we are on our way to. May this week’s encounters, perhaps also during Catholic Day’s “sharing of life”, illuminate the joy that Agide was given: “Lord, how happy I am that you are with my father and I am with my friend and we are with you and you are us.”

The Gospel of John (John 14,23-29)

At that time Jesus said to his disciples: If anyone loves me, he will keep my words. My father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him. Those who do not love me do not keep my words.

And the word you hear is not mine
but from the Father who sent me. I said this to you and I’m still with you.

But the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of everything I have said to you.

I leave you peace, I give you my peace; Not as the world gives it to you. Do not let your heart be troubled or discouraged.

You heard me say to you: I will go away and come back to you. if you love me
Are you happy that I go to my father? Because the father is taller than me.

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I already told you before this happened, so you would believe when it does.

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