Week 3 Day 3: The Self-revelation of Intimacy

“The Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing.”
John 5:20

The Self-revelation of Intimacy

We can trust God, by opening ourselves to God and expressing our fears as well as our hopes, our places of shame as well as our places of pride. The more open we can be, the more authentic our prayer will be.

-Br. David Vryhof



Transcript:

This week our theme is intimacy, and particularly, we’re focusing on the intimacy that is seen in the relationship with Jesus and his Father.  Just as Jesus lives in an intimate union with his Father, so too, we are invited to live in that kind of intimate union with God.

So, what is intimacy, and what does it involve? In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ connection with his Father is so close that they share a common purpose, a common mission.  Jesus says, “The words that I speak are not my words, but they are the words that the Father gives me. The things you’ve seen me doing are the things that the Father’s doing in the world.” He even goes so far as to say, “The Father and I are One.” He exists in this kind of intimate union with the Father, enjoying a deep connection with the Father – and from this deep connection proceeds everything that he does and says.

How do we live in this kind of intimate union with Christ, and with the Father, ourselves?  We can think about what the marks of intimacy are in human relationships:  Intimacy requires a kind of trust. It requires vulnerability and openness. Today, we have a verse from John’s Gospel, Chapter 5, Verse 20, where we read, “The Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing.” This points us to the love that exists between the Father and the Son, but one of the ways in which this love is expressed is through self-revelation. When we’re intimate with another person, we feel like we can reveal ourselves to them. We can let them know what we’re thinking, what we’re intending, what we value, what we fear. We can expose ourselves. We can make ourselves vulnerable. We can open ourselves to the other. And so, the question we’re given today is, “How can I deepen this sense of intimacy with God?” We can ask ourselves, “In my prayer, do I speak with God about the things that are really most important to me? How honest is my prayer? Do I talk with God about the things that really preoccupy me through the day? How vulnerable am I in prayer? How open am I in prayer to God?”

The degree to which we can trust God, by opening ourselves to God and expressing our fears as well as our hopes, our places of shame as well as our places of pride. The more open we can be, the more authentic our prayer will be. Today, reflect on your intimacy with God, and how truthful, honest, and vulnerable you can be in your relationship with God.

We invite you to share your reflection here >

36 Comments

  1. Mary Anderson on 03/12/2018 at 11:45 pm

    This study in meeting Jesus through the Gospel of John, has helped me greatly in looking deeper into my relationship with Christ. It’s something I have needed and longed for over the past year. My thirst has been great. I feel that finally I am getting a drink of the living water. Thank you.



  2. Jack in B.C on 03/11/2018 at 1:31 am

    What does it mean for ME to talk honestly and vulnerably with God? Sometimes, I’m not at all convinced that “God” is even there – not in any sense of being there for me to talk to. Sometimes I feel like that. But I still pray, even despite myself. Maybe I should not be concerned about the question as to whether God is even there, at least I know I’m here, so maybe I should just start ( or keep) talking – honestly and vulnerably. Thinking about the question of finding a “soul friend” (or identifying who my soul friends are), and allowing myself (or finding) the freedom to speak more openly about my fears and frustrations might lead me to see where my hopes and opportunities (invitations/callings) lie. I’m wearing golden cuffs, and I want to take them off, but the time doesn’t seem right (is it ever?); maybe by allowing myself to speak – with others, with myself (even if God seems absent) – the path will reveal itself. Whoever God is, perhaps God is the Listener; perhaps God is also the Speaker. These words I say to you, I do not speak on my own, but the Father who dwells in me does his work.



  3. Pamela Ann Quarstein on 03/09/2018 at 2:27 am

    U N I O N
    U nless I ask I cannot receive
    Co N nect to reveal ourselves to him
    The Father and I are one
    O pen me up in prayer to God
    Allow me an i N timate union with you.



  4. Rob (Roberta) Latta on 03/03/2018 at 8:43 pm

    Hello, Br. David,
    I’m so happy to have you as my teacher again. The last time (other than Week 1 Day 5) was in March, 2000, when you came to St. Brendan’s in Pittsburgh, PA to lead us in a study of Luke focusing on Jesus’ Sense of Call. It led me to take a position in my church that I felt called to. I appreciated your insights then as well as now as I continue to grow spiritually from your wisdom and the guidance of others. We have a wonderful rector with us now who is leading these reflective sessions.
    God’s blessings to you and SSJE.



    • Dean Peters on 03/07/2018 at 2:17 am

      Amen – We are so thankful for the spiritual journey you are giving to us at St Brendan’s-and for the gift of Regis our Priest-in-charge.



  5. Dorothy on 03/03/2018 at 7:33 pm

    This will



  6. Jennifer on 03/01/2018 at 1:21 am

    Being intimate with God or anyone else takes time. A wise women told me she believes the key to really being there for someone is that we need to make ourselves available to spend enough time together for the real person to show up and truly be who they are. I need to spend time reading and meditating on what the bible says about who God and Jesus are instead of creating my own God of my own understanding.



  7. Jaan Sass on 03/01/2018 at 12:36 am

    Loving myself is also difficult especially after realizing that I have emotional problems. It is easy to be intimate or honest with others for the wrong reason that is to put myself down. I guess I need to be more accepting and intimate with God maybe then I can accept myself for who I am until then this section of a song by REZ Band covers my emotions.

    My pride wants me to hide inside myself, but I love you, Lord,
    I don’t want our love put on the shelf,
    I’m tired of fighting to be who I am,
    Jesus, make me what you want me to be,
    Because of you, I desire reality,
    A love for you is what I’m dying to receive,
    Though I hate what I am, I understand that you promised me,
    You’ve promised me freedom in your truth, but I can only face myself when I face you.



    • Jeanne Stevens on 03/06/2018 at 5:52 pm

      What is the name of that song?



  8. David John Drew on 02/28/2018 at 11:50 pm

    Lord Jesus,

    I open myself up you, every day I turn to you, I listen for your voice in the world in all the faces of the people around me. Your revelation to me involves my revealing my heart to you – of all that I am, though you already know me personally, it involves a consent to be joined in intimate union in which nothing is left in darkness.

    Lord, what is the Father doing that he shares with you, and that you yourself demonstrate to us? It is both this intimate union – life that reflects and embodies real life, and it is listening, supporting and registering the heartbeat of the soul, the rhythm, cadence and movement of the world and all that it contains. The Father listens and yearns to embrace all that he has created, through you, through us too. He hears the thousands, millions, billions of hearts that, whether consciously or unknowingly give a chorus of praise – in unwritten thoughts or words. His desire is that they all, hearts, bodies, spirits and minds be reunited back to him as the ultimate source, the essence of life, of existence in totality.

    Jesus, I see that both you and the Father sustain creation, nourishing, tending, raising and perfecting – bringing everything to completion, and, if we stop for a moment and care to examine the earth and life, the nature of things that are held together in beautiful harmony – interrelated, fitting together in a complex, coordinated and communicative systems. Only we, as humans are exceptional beings in your creation – we have been given the will, the power, the capacity and capability to make choices, to define ourselves, even to separate from you and the world that you created. Sometimes we make choices that upset the balance – we insist on our own way and means – there are many people who, in their arrogance, degrade, dominate or destroy your wonderful work. They exploit your creation for their own selfish means and benefits – they grow fat and rich through oppression, not only of all the natural resources that your earth provides, but also of their fellow beings – causing poverty and destitution, polluting the earth, destroying and wasting all that is beneficial. Lord, our Father created the earth through you, but humans built a world contrary to Divine principles.

    Lord, your life extends beyond and in, and through all creation. Your life in us is a part of all creation in many complex and diverse forms. To be intimate with you is to respect all that exists and live in harmony and peace, to exist in concord with your will is to be in good relations with all that you are and have expressed. We know, Lord, that you came with supreme compassion to redeem humanity and the world, to remind us that we are all stewards, caretakers and even co-creators of a world in progress – and to enlist us in your mission of universal healing and salvation for all things – as all things came from you, to you they must all return, and so we are all involved in restoring all to the original, perfect and beautiful design of our Father in heaven.

    O Revealer of Light, I struggle against the will of the world of men that desires to separate from you – its twisted path to divorce itself from the Truth and the Light – and head down a path of ignorance and darkness – and drag everyone with it, its refusal to be wedded to you in intimate and profound bliss. Such a world refuses the pleasing and fulfilling state of union in which all things can be as they were intended by you. Though often I am forced to walk in darkness I plead that you illuminate my path forward – and bring me to my true destination, let your Kingdom of light be established on earth.

    + Amen

    Jesus, I pray that all will be reconciled to you in loving peace and harmony. I pray that wars, faction and friction will come to an end. I pray for the peoples of the world, especially those in Syria today, will come to an eternal cease-fire and the victims of senseless conflict will no longer be forced to live in fear of being hurt, maimed or even killed. Lord, I pray that the leaders of the world will find in you a true example of imitation, and pursue compassion and forgiveness, respect and love, justice and truth for all their nations. I pray for the sufferings, the hurt and the tears of all children in the world – that they may be relieved and restored to joy and happiness.

    Pax Christi – David



  9. James Rowland on 02/28/2018 at 5:50 am

    For me the Eucharist contains the greatest intimacy with Christ that I experience. I am not always aware of just how embracing this act is but looking back I cannot say that any Eucharist was at all impersonal for me. Recently I have been practicing Lectio Divina with Psalms. This practice has opened up channels of intimacy that is amazing to me. I am not one to jump right in to a close relationship but I have seen how the Spirit gently guides me into places I have not expected. I speak to God. God responds. Sounds wild but it happens!



  10. Dianne on 02/28/2018 at 4:50 am

    The Self-revelation of Intimacy-Transparency. I find the practice of centering prayer is the closest to intimacy I have experienced. I practice the 3 R’s,
    Resist no thought, React to no thought, Return ever so gently to your sacred word. I learned this in the tradition of centering prayer as taught by Father Thomas Keating.

    “The root of prayer is interior silence. We may think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words. But this is only one expression. Deep prayer is the laying aside of thoughts. It is the opening of mind & heart, body & feelings – our whole being – to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond words, thoughts, & emotions. We do not resist them or suppress them. We accept them as they are & go beyond them, not by effort, but by letting them all go by. We open our awareness to the Ultimate Mystery who we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than choosing-closer than consciousness itself. The Ultimate Mystery is the ground in which our being is rooted, the Source from whom our life emerges at every moment.”

    The discipline is learning to sit still & let go of all thoughts for 20 minutes. 2 sits a day are recommended for full benefits.

    In this place of quiet & stillness I become conscious of my inner most thoughts & feelings, & choices & maybe even subconscious motivations & let them all go into the unconditional listening & loving presence of The Ultimate Mystery.

    This resonates with a poem from Rumi, & the teachings of Father Thomas Keating about the contemplative dimensions of the Gospel in Open Mind Open Heart, with the integration of their words; “a still, small voice,” a whisper in the heart of every day”, “I want that love that is the silence of eternity” & “sacred word as incredibly gentle like laying a feather on a piece of absorbent cotton”. Merci / mercy beaucoup. Thank you.

    Swimming helps too.



  11. James on 02/27/2018 at 9:43 pm

    God bless you Anya and keep you strong.

    I call these verses from 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 my “emergency” verses because the verses are 9-11 or 911. They are a great source of strength and hope and are my first responders.

    9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

    Have a Godly day!



  12. James on 02/27/2018 at 9:32 pm

    Is it possible to have an intimate relationship with someone you don’t love, or to love someone and not be in an intimate relation? I suppose it’s possible this side of Heaven. But I’ll leave that question to the philosophers and theologians to ponder. But what I do know is, if I want an intimate relation with my Lord and Saviour, I need to take His hand, be willing to give up self, and obey His loving word. It can’t be a long-distance relationship, it needs face-to-face alone time to grow and prosper.

    Everything the Father does and says, Jesus does and says. He speaks not for Himself but only for the Father. Dear Heavenly Father, give me the strength, courage and wisdom to do and speak only as Christ does and to love one another as you have commanded. For all I do is for the glory of God the Father in Jesus’ name. Amen.



  13. Delores on 02/27/2018 at 8:56 pm

    I have followed the transcripts and comments since the beginning of this series. Thank you, Brothers, and all the people who have taken time to reflect and share your personal experiences. They have been very helpful in focusing my own thoughts.

    The topic is intimacy with God, Jesus. I think of lines from Psalm 116, which mean so much to me: “I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” For me, God, Jesus is the ONLY one with whom I feel truly intimate. I believe God knows all and accepts all. He is the source of my strength and my guide. So often, when in doubt about what to do in a particular situation, I ask myself: “What would Jesus do?” And I have my answer.



  14. Pamela on 02/27/2018 at 7:59 pm

    Perhaps because Brother David has guided me for many years, God is the one I turn to first. When I am unsure of what to do I write letters to God seeking advice. I spend some time in meditative silence and then write the question I have with my dominant had and God answers in my non- dominant hand. It is a helpful. It wouldn’t be if God didn’t already know everything about me.



  15. Anya on 02/27/2018 at 7:59 pm

    The last decade has been pretty challenging for me. I am not all the way through the recovery from it yet, though I am much better than I was. We have had multiple losses and near losses of major things like jobs, income, health, home, marriage, and relationships. I have been recovering from long term illness (Lyme) and have had daily pain for the past seven+/- years and counting. The loss of the life I had built led to clinical depression and kicked off the CPTSD. It has been a wild ride!

    However…(there is always a however! 😊)

    There have been huge gifts in all this mud, too numerous to mention.

    One of the biggest blessings in all this is that when you are, as my friend says, “Face down and sucking up mud” you find that the pride that keeps you from intimacy with God is a luxury you can no longer afford. The barriers that keep your heart from crying out to God fall away leaving you naked and exposed, and in the midst of your mess you can find there was never any need for them at all. We experience the deep human need to be seen as we are and find ourselves accepted as we stand.

    And in that horrible, wretched, blessed space where we have nothing to offer but our battered selves, we discover intimacy with God, and we learn the offering of those selves is accepted, that WE are accepted forever, and always were.



    • Bryan Cook on 02/28/2018 at 6:51 pm

      thanks Anya for that powerful sharing……shedding my pride,ego and intellectualising are key steps for me to be intimate with God , my partner and my friends. B



  16. Meg on 02/27/2018 at 7:31 pm

    As a teacher of 6 & 7 year olds, I sent up “arrow prayers” petitioning an individual child’s need in the moment, my need for guidance or the right words, and thanksgivings for each victory of learning or understanding in a child or a kindness enacted by a child for whom kindness was rare. Arrow prayers were expedient, plain spoken, and brief. I feared they might be irreverent as they lacked “thee and thou” or formal prayer format. They were a running conversation of simple pleas for help and thankyous. In light of your words this morning, it seems intimate arrow prayers may be a more fitting perception than irreverent arrow prayers. Gratefully, this prayer habit continues in retirement for the people in my daily life.



    • Suzanne Crawford on 02/28/2018 at 4:43 pm

      I too am a retired special ed elementary school teacher….I get arrow prayers….that was so well expressed. I also get a contemplative prayer….be it early morning or at the end of a teaching day with my head on my desk. I desire my prayer life whether formally or spontaneously. Pray always and without ceasing. Peace-



  17. Sharon (Sam) Peck on 02/27/2018 at 7:07 pm

    Nearly every one of these daily enlightenments have touched my shredded soul. Today’s is especially life-giving as I struggle with a lack of intimacy with my 98-year-old mother. For years I’ve searched for the thread to understand this woman with whom I should have a loving relationship. Br. David Vryhof’s words shed a shining light on my journey to ‘honor my mother, love God first, and love my neighbor as myself.’ I look forward to beginning the day with these thoughtful insights gleaned from The Gospel of John.



    • Anya on 02/27/2018 at 7:40 pm

      You are not alone. I have a mother who is personality disordered and incapable of a “normal” relationship. My father is, as well. I must love them only from a distance. I wish them well from my heart, and I do pray for them. I have set my intention of forgiving.

      A recent learning that is helping me comes from the work of Frederic Luskin at Stanford. He spoke of forgiveness and stripped it down to a basic level, namely that it is, “…learning to be at peace with the word No.” He said that we may have wanted a Yes from a person, for them to be faithful or stay married or not harm us, etc. but when the other refused, we got a No where we wanted a Yes.

      In our cases, it is hearing an unthinkable No, but having to make peace with it all the same. It hit me that I have spent my life trying to turn a No into a Yes, and that this was a truly Impossible Task, as it is called.

      Forgiving them, after grieving that loss, involves coming to peace with hearing that No we never wanted to hear and being able to live our lives without expecting the same No treatment from everyone else.

      I just prayed for you and for your heart. You are not alone!



      • Bryan Cook on 02/28/2018 at 6:56 pm

        I always craved YES, but thanks to these thoughts, I realise that I must accept NO with peace and God in my heart. Thanks



      • April Baily on 02/28/2018 at 7:23 pm

        Beautifully put, and very insightful. I will share with my daughter, who, 25 years after his passing, grieves the relationship she didn’t have with her dad. Thank you for sharing.



  18. Bryan Cook on 02/27/2018 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks Brother David…..I try to be intimate with God in my prayers and my actions. However, I find myself praying the same prayers almost by rote; that’s if I find the time to pray at all during my hectic day. I must take the time to dwell in my prayers and not let the Lord’s prayer just roll quickly off my silent tongue without a second thought. Like poetry, a fuller understanding, a fuller sense of feeling, a fuller sense of intimacy and a fuller sense of being in the moment come with praying out loud. I must try harder to practise this.



    • Bryan Cook on 02/27/2018 at 7:14 pm

      I also pray that I am aware of and respect the boundaries of others and those of myself.



    • Karren Shilson on 02/27/2018 at 7:27 pm

      I know what you are saying Bryan. I am the same way and because I am retired I do have the time. I am going to try talking to Jesus as a friend as well as reading the scriptures. I need a good friend at this time in my life and who could be better then Jesus.



  19. Susan on 02/27/2018 at 6:53 pm

    My soul craves intimacy with God! Regarding my illness; my body is ahead of my spirit. This is a really hard one to have, although I realize not as hard as some people have it. Dear Jesus, deliver me and return me to my life!



  20. Suzanne on 02/27/2018 at 6:08 pm

    Being ‘intimate’ also calls us to be present, I think. Because of our busy lives, sometimes this is the most difficult part of prayer and relationship. Thank you for inspiring me to take time today to do just that.



  21. Diane on 02/27/2018 at 5:57 pm

    Thank you Brother David. That was an eye opener for me, also a very nice “feel good” way to get through the day. I have found a great soul mate to talk to.



  22. John Fritschner on 02/27/2018 at 5:29 pm

    Thanks for making the connection between prayer and authenticity.



  23. marta engdahl on 02/27/2018 at 5:27 pm

    It’s interesting to realize that the “god” in us is called by God for strengthening the relationship. I strive for that relationship and it has been amazing to me that God is there in my awareness of my neediness and in seeking God.



  24. John David Spangler on 02/27/2018 at 5:11 pm

    Brilliant advice from Brother David. Let’s strive to follow it!



  25. Keith Aldred on 02/27/2018 at 2:07 pm

    Being open to God means we must be open to ourselves. Give us that ability Lord and help us to trust you.



    • Janet on 02/27/2018 at 4:26 pm

      My earliest memories are painted with the realization that I am not alone, that someone is always watching me. I grew up knowing that I could hide nothing. Later I realized that it was God that was always present, and I had nothing to hide from Him! He knows me…and still loves me! I now need to work on loving myself!



      • Dorothy on 03/03/2018 at 7:44 pm

        This lesson compelled me to list every vulnerability in the journal. It provided me the opportunity to explore and list out specifically every concern that came to mind to share with Jesus. It also made me think about those with whom I am not afraid to be vulnerable: two people, one a family member and another a friend. I realized that the common denominator was unconditional love. Their love helps keep me centered and allow me to seek a closer relationship with Jesus. For years my sense of guilt prevented me from accepting that Jesus could possibly love me – it didn’t seem to me that anyone could possibly love me. What a long trek through the desert! It has been a long process, but I do feel His love for me. What a wonderful peace!