Vugt: The spiritual life – I am the way, the truth and the life

AFTER the washing of the feet Apostle John continues with Jesus’ three farewell discourses to his apostles. Those who had lived intimately with him for several months, would soon need to discover another way of living with the risen and present, though invisible, Christ. “I was with you”, says Jesus, henceforth, “I will be in you”. The first of these discourses is found in Chapter 14.

Jesus’ ascension to the Father was not just an individual achievement, but opened for all of us a way to our House, not situated high above us, but in God. There are many mansions (v. 2), that means that there is also a place for us, not just one mansion for everybody, but a place for each one, because Heaven is not like a performance which is the same for everyone in the audience. God’s radiance will draw from each one of the resonance only he can bring force. Each one will be in his own mansion, being in communion with all.

Now, knowing what is the goal, we should walk towards this definitive communion. “I am the way”, says Jesus. He became human precisely so that we might see the Father in him. He followed his way, so disconnecting for us, so that, meditating on his actions, we would progress towards the truth. Although in the beginning we may not understand him well, with time, we will discover the Lord and understand that his way is ours. Passing through the cross and death, we will achieve our own truth and arrive at life.

I am in the Father, and the Father is in me, and you in me (vv. 11 and 20). Christ makes us enter into the divine family. Thus we no longer speak of approaching God as if he were far from us. We no longer feel as if God were a single person in front of us. We enter ‘into’ the mysterious life of the divine Persons who share everything and who are the one and only God. Material things cannot penetrate each other, but in the world of the spirit such is possible. Christ is in the Father and the Father is in him. They make their home within us (v. 23).

In the introduction to the Gospel, John explained that all of God’s actions in the world should be understood in the light of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son. Now he adds that the presence of God in us is due to another person, the Holy Spirit. Neither the Father alone, whom no one has seen, nor the Son, who made himself known, can enter into communion with people. They can, however, do so by means of the Spirit, whom we should call God who is communicated. Hence we call spiritual life everything that refers to our relationship with God.

The spiritual life includes three elements: keeping the words of Jesus: meditating on them, putting them into practice and letting them take root in our soul. Then, instructed by the Spirit regarding what we should ask in Jesus’ name, let us ask in all confidence, for those things that he himself desires. Finally, let us do the same things he did. He did not multiply good works, but completed that which his Father asked him to do, even when his obedience would seem to us a vain sacrifice.


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