Recently, a colleague of mine uploaded a page from a book he was reading on our class chatroom on WhatsApp. The lines were DEEP. I loved it.
I recognise thought patterns; writers that attempt to walk on the fringes of reality, and on the precipice of ideas, as they reveal nuances, are my personal favorites. So needless to say, I requested a copy.
It came! Majestic and Glorious; authored by the Franciscan Priest, Richard Rohr – captioned “Yes, and…”, sub-captioned “Daily Meditations”. It had cost my colleague a whopping 13,300 naira (God bless him!). Reading through, I came to realise that it was worth every kobo.
In this powerful book I read the words, “spirituality teaches us how to get naked ahead of time, so that God can make love to us as we really are” (pg.314).
My mind was instantly embarrassed, not to mention scandalised, by those lines. We need to get naked? So that God can make love to us as we really are? Are you kidding me? My inner man screamed, “I’m so not getting naked, and not even God will make love to me, biko”.
But come to think of it. Isn’t ‘love making’ the giving of oneself completely to another in the most beautiful of covenants? Is this not what God has sought to do since Genesis? Doesn’t St Paul himself tell us that this love mirrors the union of Christ with his Church? So why are we so embarrassed and scandalized by those words?
“Because we’ve strayed too far from the truth”.
We can never truly MAKE LOVE to anyone all dressed up (though we can HAVE SEX all dressed up). The very ACT of love making requires that we bare ourselves completely, as we give our whole selves in the most intimate of unions, to the one we love. This is why love making is a spiritual action, and why fornication, adultery, and all perverse expressions of love are LIES.
Most of us fear nothingness (which explains our mortal fear of death). We hate baring ourselves completely to others. We never want to be vulnerable. So we lock up our hearts and souls in layers and layers of clothing, to the point that we become inaccessible even to God. By so doing, we continue to have fun-sex, without any desire to make love, thereby making caricature of the act God himself created to strip us of our egos and make our giving more authentic and sincere.
To save our souls, we do need to pull off all the clothes of sin we’ve so vainly acquired. Spirituality involves giving, not necessarily taking; it is a stripping, and not an amassing. We must strip ourselves naked once more that God may find us.
Jesus himself taught us this – he allowed himself be stripped of his garments. He hung naked on the cross in one act of true love for the world. He gave us himself completely, without holding anything back. Today, we’re able to eat his body and drink his blood. What other examples do we need?
And finally, if you feel my choice of words is inappropriate, don’t panic. I was just like you. It only shows that you too have too many clothes on. So strip yourself naked. Perhaps you’ll then find some meaning in these words. Hurry, “it’s time to get naked ahead of time, so that God can make love to us as we really are.”
God bless you.
© Rev. Fr. Kevin Oselumhense Anetor, 2018.