The thesis for this article is simple: there’s never been anyone who entered the inner sanctuary of heaven, the inner sanctuary of the Catholic Church, or the inner sanctuary of the human soul being in complete control. How so? Jesus taught us: “I am the way…” (John 14:6) On the cross we behold “the way” which is the way of surrender and vulnerability. The Romans designed crucifixion not only to inflict physical pain, but also to shame the crucified through public exposure without any way to cover up since hands and feet were fastened to the cross. We place a small loin cloth on the crucifixes in our churches but Jesus was stark naked in real time since the Romans were not so kind.
We shy away from vulnerability, and so the cross, because we want to maintain control. The Father sent Jesus to the cross to become exposed to view and open: “And when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself” (John 12:32). We shut down and become narrow in our desire to maintain control. We need to enter the school of Christ crucified by grace. Intimacy involves the invitation, “into me see” which Jesus Christ offers on the cross. There we contemplate the living God and encounter Him in Christ, vulnerable, just as He was in the manger at Bethlehem. But we’re also invited to reciprocate, to “rend our hearts, not our garments” (cf. Joel 2:13), becoming vulnerable to Christ crucified with the invitation, “into me see.” Meditating on the cross becomes the foundation for intimacy with God in Jesus Christ.
But we shy away from intimacy because we want to maintain control. We end up hiding with Adam and Eve in the bushes “at the breezy time of the day” when God comes calling for us (cf. Genesis 3:8). In 1969 we in the United States put men on the moon and it was a marvelous accomplishment. There were so many factors that had to be controlled to pull that off. It was an incredible moment for the United States and all human history. But have we become enamored of our ability to control, as though that’s all there is? Intimacy is built upon letting go of control and becoming vulnerable. Jesus excels in intimacy because he excels in love, but we have set Him aside today. We don’t have time because we’re too busy controlling things and ridicule those who are clumsy enough to be vulnerable and not keep up. It’s why so many are abandoning Jesus to maintain control and yet no one ever entered the inner sanctuary of heaven, the Catholic Church, or the human soul being in complete control. Consider it.
No one has ever entered the inner sanctuary of heaven being in total control. As of this writing the Canadian government has codified the illusion of complete control in the face of death by legalizing Physician Assisted Suicide. It is insanity, not mercy. The sick and the suffering decide to exercise complete control in the face of death and request the “palliative” drugs that will kill them. Where did we learn this? Not from Christ since no one ever entered the inner sanctuary of heaven in total control. Jesus died vulnerable and suffering, given over to the Father’s will, not in control but surrendered. The good thief joined him while the bad thief, trying to shame Jesus into taking control and getting them out of there, closed the pathways to life even as he was dying.
No one has ever entered the inner sanctuary of the Catholic Church being in total control.There are Catholics today who live a convenient “have it your way” type Catholicism but “have it your way” belongs in Burger King or McDonald’s, not the Catholic Church. We cannot enter the inner sanctuary of the Church by choosing the things we like and rejecting the things we don’t. By doing so we shut ourselves out and stay on the periphery. Jesus taught us to pray to Our Father, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done,” and not “my kingdom come, my will be done.” But we want to maintain control and so remain outside the inner sanctuary of the Church, even while doing a lot of “Catholic things.”
No one has ever entered the inner sanctuary of the human soul being in complete control. Jesus taught about marriage, saying, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mark 10:6-9). The “two becoming one flesh” is easy. How do we know? Because everyone is doing it. If it was hard, no one would be doing it. So, becoming one flesh is easy but where men and women hit the highway and depart is the more awkward labor of entering the inner sanctuary of the human soul by becoming vulnerable. Casual sex results and we remain strangers to each other and to ourselves because we want to maintain control. Pornography also results whenever power and control hold sway over human relations, all the while thinking that consent makes it alright. But, again, we remain on the periphery and Jesus warned us about these casual approaches to relationships, saying, “Don’t throw your pearls before swine” (Matthew 7:6). He also came to deliver us from domination and control dynamics in relationships, instituting the Sacrament of Marriage which redeems human sexuality by grace. This can only exist between one man and one woman living together in a committed relationship of Sacramental marriage “until death do us part.”
It’s impossible to enter the inner sanctuary of the human soul without commitment which helps to facilitate vulnerability and transparency: “into me see.” But today we are experiencing the rise of the bullies who preside over and prey upon those who become exposed and vulnerable. We evaluate such persons, put them on trial, as we have done with Christ, and dismiss them as weak and ridiculous, objects of ridicule and gossip. We may even out them on social media and thereby escort them back into hiding with Adam and Eve in the bushes.
At one point in His ministry, Jesus exhorted the apostles to “duc in altum” or “put out into the deep” (cf. Luke 5:4). Pope Saint John Paul II took the occasion of the new millennium to meditate upon this exhortation of Jesus in his Apostolic Letter, Novo Millennio Ineunte (January 6, 2001). The Holy Father called us from the shallow waters of life on the periphery into the deep waters of the inner sanctuary of the heavens, the Church, and the human soul. These three go together and we cannot neglect one without affecting the others. Jesus has shown us “the way” into the deep when on the cross He became vulnerable, crying out, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34) and surrendered, declaring, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). Through the maintenance of control, we may gain control of many areas in life, except one, namely, letting go and becoming vulnerable. Yet, there’s never been anyone who entered the inner sanctuary of heaven, the inner sanctuary of the Catholic Church, or the inner sanctuary of the human soul being in complete control.