I must not look like a Jim.
For many years, casual acquaintances have consistently called me by other masculine J-names—especially John. I have been John to people who barely know me and to people who should certainly know better.
Then, several years ago, a priest friend advised me to reflect upon the young apostle John, who sits close enough to Jesus to lean against His breast (c.f. John 13:23-24). A year or two later, a different friend told me, “You are closer to Jesus than you think—leaned right against His chest, close to His Sacred Heart.” From that time forward, he purposely addresses me as John and reminds me of this connection to the youngest apostle frequently.
These two independent references to the same Gospel passage confirmed in me my spiritual proximity to St. John, and our Lord and His mother, at the Last Supper and at the foot of the Cross. It’s a beautiful blessing—but it’s also complicated, especially as a man.
I am close to my dad. I remember as a child and a younger teen stretching out to watch TV and doze on the same couch with him—and I remember, as a young man on an ill-fated elk hunt, suffering altitude sickness and shivering uncontrollably until he wrapped his arms and sleeping bag around me for a hour or more to warm me and still my convulsing body.
Dad is the man I love most in this world, but expressing these intimate moments is difficult, because as men, we don’t generally share such physical closeness publicly.
So what would it take for me, a grown man, to rest my head against the breast of Jesus in a room full of other men?Continue reading