27 December 2005

St. John, the beloved

Today the Church celebrates the Feast of St. John, the beloved disciple who is credited with writing the fourth Gospel, esteemed for his fidelity in staying at the foot of the cross, and often depicted as laying his head on the heart of the Lord. In a reflection prepared for 6 January 1941 St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) suggests that "We can learn from John how precious human souls are to the Divine Heart and how we can give him no greater joy than by being willing instruments on his shepherding way."

Surely St. John would know well what is pleasing to the Divine Heart. It was he who recorded Jesus' testimony about being the Good Shepherd. It was he who, upon seeing the shroud on the floor of the empty tomb, believed -- and trusted that the life of the good shepherd was not to end on a cross and in a borrowed grave.

As we celebrate this great disciple and evangelist, we can pray for the grace to imitate his example of being a willing instrument for the Good Shepherd. In the moments where we know well what is pleasing to God, let us act promptly and cheerfully. In moments where we have little control over circumstances which befall us -- be they troublesome or pleasing -- let us accept them for love of God alone. Our quiet acceptance is precious gift for the newborn child.

"We can receive the outcome of heaven's good pleasure with a most unalloyed tranquility of will that wills nothing whatsoever, but acquiesces absolutely in all that God wills to be done in us, on us or by us."
St. Francis de Sales

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