Today, within the Octave of Christmas, the Church celebrates the feast of St. John the Evangelist who gave us the glorious Fourth Gospel, several Letters and the Book of Revelation.
(Photo: John and Peter running to the tomb)
Tradition says that he is the only Apostle who was not martyred and although he probably longed to be with Jesus sooner, he lived to be a very old man and has gifted us with his inspired revelations of the life of His Master and Lord.
St. Jerome, writing of St. John said "In his old age at Ephesus Blessed John the Evangelist could barely be supported into Church on the arms of his disciples nor could he say more than a few words when he got there. At each service he would only repeat: 'my little children, love one another.' Wearied by his repetitions his followers asked him why he always said the same thing. St. John replied: 'Because it is the Lord's command, and if you do only this, it suffices...'"
As I meditated on this story this morning it occured to me that John loved as the Lord had commanded him to do. And he could do it with all of his heart because he knew in the very fiber of his being that he was loved by the Lord. In his Gospel he never identifies himself by name but only by the phrase "the disciple whom Jesus loved." John is the Apostle of love.
I found myself asking Jesus to let me know, in the very fiber of my being, that I was loved by Him. I accept that truth in my head but I don't always believe it in my heart. The more that I realize how much I am loved, the more deeply can I love. I want that more than anything else in the world. What about you?
(For a beautiful reflection on St. John I encourage you to click on http://www.advent2008.org/story.php?id=31269)