It has given us enormous joy to welcome our first grandchild into the world this last 12 months. It took us back to our own experience of the birth of our children. There is nothing more intimate than the relationship of mother and child; for nine months one is literally inside the other!

By the water and Holy Spirit in Baptism, we are born again from God as His true children (Jn 3:5). This would mean that we have the same intimate relationship with God our Father as do mother and child, only plus, plus, plus! Indeed, Jesus said that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He dwells in us, and we in Him! (Jn 14:20).

Then, of course, we can’t be intimate with God our Father without also being intimate with His family – i.e., the church: a particular bunch of human beings, who meet on a particular street corner, who cause us pain and give us delight, with whom we share life and the saving, healing grace of the Gospel. 

To have this intimacy is what Jesus meant when He spoke of “having our joy full” (Jn 15:11)!

Grace upon grace, Jonathan.