Forty-two years ago, almost exactly, I went to my Dad and asked to be introduced to you. I was a boy, but I knew the difference between my thoughts and your Voice.
Your voice in my heart cannot be confused with my own, because that sweet voice is nobler, purer, more charitable than any thought I have ever had left to myself. My own thoughts argue, dissect, and look to my advantage. I judge myself harshly, excuse myself slyly, and demand justice for others.
Your voice is strong, not frantic, eternal, not changeable.
You do not accept me as I am, for which I am thankful, but demand I change and then go about changing me. My desires I know all too well: you say crucify them. I fondle my passions, but you tell me to die to myself.
I am not called to self-worth, but death to self. My self as it was, and as it too often still is, is selfish and wretched. You say to me: ‘Forget celebrating wretchedness. Change. Be transformed.”
You are straight and I celebrate crookedness, but you do not budge. You wait for me to look up from my piggish thoughts and then beckon me to come to You.
My depression, coming from a broken body and a broken spirit, is accepted by and transformed into a cross that has done me good. You would not have made it so, the world, the flesh, and the Devil did this to me along with my own choices, but You transform using what I am.
You work slowly in the transformation, evolving new structures, so I am not lost, but instead rebuilt in Your Image.
And so I asked you to begin the process and I was saved from my internal and dead end monologue. Of course, the dying to self has not ended: still hateful, lustful, proud.
But Jesus you are loving, chaste, and humble. You are God and yet you emptied yourself of all divine titles and became a man. You are hard Reason and gentle Love. You unite in a person Justice and Mercy, ideas that can only be united in the three dimensions of a person and not in a syllogism.
You cannot be loved without the love you give, approached without the goodness you give, or bargained with as if You were less that Omnipotence.
And yet You only ask I recognize the standard and will to it and then you count the will as the deed. You love me without once rationalizing away one hateful, prideful, lustful deed. Demons make deals, You justify, sanctify, glorify.
And you are so beautiful, so shining, so pure, so holy that if I just stop and think of you, then I am overwhelmed.
I love you, Jesus.
On this Holy Pascha, I affirm with all my heart: “He is risen, He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!”
And I remember getting off my Daddy’s lap and feeling exactly the same forty-two years ago: life flooded me, healed me, and lifted me up and it is happy, glad, joyful, jolly to know that there is eternity of this relationship to go.