St. John’s Contemplative Gospel – The Intimacy Of Indwelling (Chapter 17)

St. John was a contemplative.

And this is eternal life, that they know you…

The language of love is guarded, not in order to conceal, but in order to protect it, and nurture it, and to not expose it to the possibility of abuse or derision.  This intimacy of indwelling – …I in them and you in me… – is not notional.  It’s not even rational.  But it is essential to even a minimally loving relationship.  And God reveals himself only through love.  It is incredible that so many read into this chapter a call to knowledge about God, and that through that knowledge about God they attain what in their minds amounts to the promise of eternal life.  But this is the opposite of what St. John proposes here.  Namely.  Again.  That simple, quiet intimacy is what God desires.  This is how the love and presence of God is both disseminated and directly infuses the loved.  This is not other worldly, but finds us where we are – in the world – and is readily available here and now, and is eternal, if we but take the time to set aside the distractions…all distractions…perhaps even most of all those to which we cling so tight as so essential to our self-identity.  To set these aside and be open directly to God alone brings joy and protection and sanctity…sanity, really.