He is charming, witty, bright. A writer of songs and poetry, at times gritty and harshly true. He loves his mama and she loves him. He tells me she knows things about him that she couldn’t possibly know. That’s the way mamas are I want to say, but don’t.
He grills me as a priest, asking me challenging questions about Holy Scripture. It’s complicated; I have no slick, pat answers for you, I say. All I know for sure is that we are to do our best to love God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s plenty to keep a person busy.
He tells me he is not so sure that Jesus was anything more than an extraordinary man, a prophet. Wasn’t it weak that he would allow himself to be crucified?
Can you imagine being so in love, so deeply, wildly in love with another, so wanting the best for the other, that you would lay down your life? That’s what God has done in Jesus. He cannot abide the thought of being apart from us. He so wants us to be with him that he was willing to pay the ultimate price.
I tell my friend, nothing you have done, or ever will do, can diminish God’s love for you. You might grieve him, might break his heart a little. But this love is unmovable. God’s mercy is unrelenting and extends to all. Because that is the nature of love.
He tells me that some people here say that a prayer is only good if you end it by saying “In the name of Jesus.” He is not so sure. He says he is most comfortable praying the “Our Father.” You would never offend Jesus by going to the Father, I assure him.
He asks me to read a prayer he had written to the Heavenly Father, a prayer that expresses a deep dream of the heart. He waits for me to object to the content of his dream. Instead I push the prayer across the table. “It’s beautiful,” I tell him. “Keep sharing your heart with God.”