Bishop Joseph Perry: Genuine Intimacy

As one husband and father of five children with one on the way openly testifies:

(In our families) “we see the beauty of a child’s faith and we see the immediate negative consequences of sin. There is little that can motivate a man to improve himself more than seeing his weakness imitated by his son.  In the constant labor of family life, one either embraces the Cross and finds joy or one retreats to selfishness, shirks one’s responsibilities and accepts misery. The truth is that our vocation is labor and our spirituality must be one rooted in labor. Spending an hour trying to find a toddlers shoe, which for some inexplicable reason is never with its partner, is not a distraction from the life of holiness, it is where we find it! The laity is engaged in a struggle, a war that requires great labor and without spiritual fortitude and maturity it simply won’t be won.” 

Dr. Andrew Jones, PhD,  “Into the Battle: Finding Holiness and A Lost Shoe While We’re At It,”  Lay Witness, Sept/Oct 2014.

Don’t you find it strange that in a world obsessed with communications via cell phones, IPhones, Skype and the Internet, it has never been harder to stay in touch, to build and maintain genuine intimacy.  I’m not talking about that artificial contact found in bars or clubs where alcohol and atmosphere create the illusion that everyone is your buddy.  I’m not talking about that superficial contact found in the members of the family popping in and out of the house picking up food off the stove or from the refrigerator but never taking the time to sit down and enjoy a meal together.  I’m talking about real intimacy that lasts longer than the evanescent fumes of liquor and perfume, real intimacy that must be taken up after the gifts are unwrapped or exchanged back at the stores the day after. The kind of intimacy that takes time, demands sacrifice and intentional effort and is not circumvented by fear or disappointment, the kind of intimacy where each member of the family senses they are appreciated and respected.

This real intimacy I speak of puts other family members first and is willing to accept imperfection in ourselves and in our loved-ones.  It is also open to work with challenge and change. This is the only kind of intimacy that keep couples and families together in the hard times as well as the good times.

Bishop Joseph N Perry