That They May Be One

Aunt Agnes

I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. John 17:21

The verse above is the universally known verse of Christian unity.  It has been the call to the ecumenical movement and to uniting denominations.

But as I sit here typing at 3:30 a.m. because the Lord awakened me, I know there is another meaning behind this verse, it isn’t just about Christian unity.

It is about YOU.  PERSONALLY.  Jesus says, “just as you and I are one – as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.”

Jesus Christ wants me, Susan, and each of YOU individually, to be one with the Father through Jesus as an action of the Holy Spirit.  This is what it means to be a living sanctuary.  This, and only this, is what will lead to a true Christian unity and peace in the world. And this, this way of living begins in prayer, not in works.  And through prayer we unite to God by receiving the Sacraments.  These two things bring true unity.  Your unity with God.  No amount of ecumenical gathering will achieve the kind of unity and peace that God seeks for us until each one of us personally becomes one with the Father through Jesus Christ, resting in the Father’s bosom, resting in His love.  The result of this kind of unity, the union of an individual with the will of God, is works, works born of love and not of some false facade of what we limited human beings think of as peace.

You see Jesus didn’t speak one word about humankind. A true believer didn’t come from giant speeches, for many heard Him speak, but didn’t stay transformed.  What we see over and over again in the Gospels is that he had a one on one personal encounter with individuals who became transformed.  He KNEW them, and they KNEW HIM.  They probably felt, for the first time ever that they personally were loved unconditionally.  This is why they changed and left their life of sin behind.  It wasn’t because of a giant speech and platitudes about world peace.  It was because of an encounter.  And encounter with LOVE HIMSELF.  One, who through Him, showed us a Good Father. And it is why it was better if Judas had never been born, because he was given the encounter and he betrayed and in his betrayal he rejected the encounter.  He didn’t rest in God’s love for Him.  That’s the difference between Peter and Judas.  Peter, even in his denial, he knew God’s love for him.  It’s why he could repent.  Judas blasphemed by rejecting the mercy of God.

Jesus was each persons best friend.  The one who in return really “got this” was John.

The Gospel tells us of Jesus, “No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.” (John 1:18)  And later, at the Last Supper, the Gospel tells us, “There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved.” (John 13:23)

This is why John could stand at the foot of the cross.  When Jesus gave us his Mother (John 19:26-27), he also was showing us how to be sons and daughters through the example of John.

Have you had this encounter?  It’s all throughout the Gospels.  The Samaritan women at the well, Zaccheaus, the adulterous woman, each of the Apostles, Martha, Lazarus and Mary.  The list goes on.   We the Mystical Body of Christ, as individual members can bring this encounter to others, with Jesus acting through us, one to one.  This is how to make disciples of all nations, one on one encounter.  Bring Christ to the people.

This is why when Christ comes to you in an encounter it is so important to be OBEDIENT.  This obedience brings the oneness with the Father that was broken by the disobedience of Adam and Eve.  Being obedient is hard, it makes you different from others who may persecute you for it.  But it is in this obedience that grace abounds.  This obedience will help spread the Gospel and achieve true Christian unity.  A person who lives here can love like God does.  God loves unconditionally.  When you rest here you are able to fight the devil by hating him, but not a person.  It enables forgiveness.  You can see the world through spiritual eyes.

When I was in Medjugorje I encountered the 73 year old patriarch of the family that owned our hotel.  He had lived through communism and the war between Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.  You would think war would have made him bitter, but this man was different.  He had something I hadn’t seen much of before.  He had true peace, true love, and true freedom.  He relayed to us a story about the parish Priest, Father Jozo Zovko, who was imprisoned by the communists for speaking against the state.  This man had witnessed and been part of the trial, which was a farce.  He said he told what was true, but the communists had a predetermined outcome because of their ideology.  Then he said something I will never forget.  He said, “they can put you in prison, but you can still be free.”  This man KNEW GOD.  Because freedom is interior, and it comes when you rest in the bosom of the Father.

Don’t fall for false unity that comes at the expense of Truth.  Be obedient and remember unity starts with your union to the will of the Father.  Rest in the Divine Will.  Peace will be the result, even if there’s a storm around you.

 

About veilofveronica

I am a mother and wife as well as an RCIA and Adult Faith Formation catechist at a parish in the south. I have 3 children and a great husband.
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5 Responses to That They May Be One

  1. MLogan says:

    Amen sister!
    Queen of Peace, pray for us.

  2. Leah says:

    Beautiful and so well said -thank you

  3. Lucy says:

    Thank you , Susan,for these words on the meaning of unity. Unity really is all about intimately “knowing” the Beloved. Being a Friend of God is good. But being His Beloved is even better. God is happy for us to be friends. But He wants MORE. He wants UNITY of our souls with Him. He wants us ALL to be fully and intimately United to Him in a SPOUSAL COVENANT of LOVE .
    “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
    Why does the Father seek such people to worship him ? Because without this degree of Unity, we cannot find the needed strength to REMAIN FAITHFUL under great adversity or persecution…which is here and coming. This degree of Unity is in fact necessary for those who wish to remain at the foot of the Cross. The Synoptic Gospels all tell us that the “friends of Jesus” remained at ” a distance” from the Cross !!!! Whereas, His true lovers stood there with Him. I believe that the Mercy of God welcomes us all, both friends and lovers, in the walk with Christ. But Truth reveals that it is ONLY those who have “met” Him, who “know” Him intimately and personally, who have made their hearts a sanctuary of love for Him…these are the ones we find at the foot of the Cross !!! It is a choice we all must make: shall I remain His friend or shall I become His beloved? Am I content with the possibility that , when under persecution , I might run away in fear….or do I desire to remain with Him no matter what , unto the very end? God condemns not those who are His friends (ie. every other Apostle but John) , but He will surely reward in His Glory those who have chosen to become intimate lovers of Christ.
    “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
    What is it to be a BELOVED of Christ , then? Last night, Jesus woke Susan up to speak to her in the intimacy of her lover’s heart. He wanted to share a message with us here about the kind of Worship that bears the spiritual fruits of Union, when one faithfully and obediently worships (proskuneo) God in the intimacy of the interior sanctuary of the soul. There are several translations of the English word “WORSHIP”, when compared to both the Hebrew and the Greek. Below is a link to an interesting text that analyses the shortcomings of the word worship. But without contemplation of the notion found in “worship” one cannot DESIRE to bridge the gap between Friendship and Marriage . It is WORSHIP that brings us the Unity Jesus talks about at great length in John 17, aka the Priestly Prayer. It is a PROCESS , as the soul moves from Friendship towards the Covenant Love. Or rather, a spiritual courtship which looks something this :
    To KNOW is to UNDERSTAND. To UNDERSTAND is to OBEY. To OBEY is to OFFER SACRIFICE OF PRAISE . To offer SACRIFICE OF PRAISE is to WORSHIP. To WORSHIP is to be in INTIMATE SPOUSAL UNION OF LOVE. And this union is what the FATHER DESIRES FOR US ALL NOW, without exception. Jesus is thirsting for this union with our souls !!! And He woke Susan up in the middle of the night , from her bed of silent rest in the darkness, to speak to her soul of His aching desire for union with us. Do you see, brothers and sisters, how much God DESIRES US ?
    WORSHIP in SPIRIT and in TRUTH is the KEY to open this door of UNITY. It should be our greatest desire to find this WORSHIP KEY… that which brings about union with God !!!

    John 4 is in fact the “explanation” of John 17. They should be contemplated together. The Mystical WELL of UNION “looks like” John chapter 17. But we must learn “how to” DRAW WATER FROM THE WELL. Jesus explains to the Samaritan Woman how WORSHIP DRAWS OUT THE WATER FROM THE WELL !!! Jesus explains to the Samaritan woman at the well that It is not a place but an interior attitude of the heart. Interesting enough, He does so after discussing with her the subject of Marriage! He shows the Woman at the Well that in fact she has never experienced the Covenant attitude of INTIMATE FIDELITY required in marital love. That she has often changed partners, had many superficial “spouses”. She does not know about true Fidelity. Or true Worship. She has never tasted the Living Waters of what this sort of intimacy with God can bring to the soul. He thirsts first for us, so that we may thirst for Him…

    John 4, verses 20-24:
    “Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain; but you people say that the place to worship is in Jerusalem.”
    Jesus said to her, “Believe me, woman, the hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You people worship what you do not understand; we worship what we understand, because salvation is from the Jews.
    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth; and indeed the Father seeks such people to worship him. God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”

    https://www.xenos.org/essays/what-worship
    Conclusion
    “As long as we are culturally bound to the unfortunate English word, ‘worship,’ we need to keep our understanding biblical rather than anchored in church traditions. A worshipper must be a humble person who is willing to:
    • Subordinate their goals to God’s goals by prioritizing service toward the Kingdom of God;
    • Express gratitude and praise toward God and
    • (Witness) Tell others about God, his truths and the love they have enjoyed as His child.”

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