Thought for the Day – 27 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
St John the Apostle and Evangelist
“St John proved himself worthy of His Master’s special favour. He never deserted Christ. He was present at the Agony in Gethsemane. He was in the courtyard of the High Priest, when Peter denied Christ but he remained faithful. He was the only Apostle present at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary, where, he was privileged to hear Our Lord’s last words.
After the Resurrection, John was one of the first to hurry to the sepulchre. Like the other Apostles, he proved his undying love for Jesus, by enduring the pains of Martyrdom, although his life was miraculously spared. He spent his long life studying how to love and serve Jesus Christ. Can the same be said for us? We have not been granted the privileges given to St John but, we have received countless favours from God.
Let us learn from the example of this great Apostle, how to co-operate generously with the grace of God, for how many times have we deserted Christ!”
Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave
“Look into Peter’s wide open eyes and John’s intense gaze. Their eyes contain a mix of anxiousness and hope, the way a parent or grandparent’s eyes look at the news of an impending birth. A new life is about to emerge but there is still uncertainty because it is a mystery beyond full human comprehension or control. Peter and John’s faces capture the same sense of anticipation.
Burnand created a sparse, simple painting capturing two of the most important players in the greatest story ever told. Meditate upon their faces, as Burnand intended you to do and through them, discover the empty tomb.” (Elisabeth Ehrhard-Crises Magazine).
Oh Teach Me then, Dear Saint! An Invocation of St John, Apostle and Evangelist Unknown Author
Saint of the Sacred Heart, Sweet teacher of the Word, Partner of Mary’s woes And favourite of thy Lord!
Refrain Oh teach me then, dear Saint! The Secrets Christ taught thee; The Beatings of His Heart, And how it beat for me!
We know not all thy gifts But this Christ bids us see, That He Who so loved all, Found more to love in thee. Refrain
When the last evening came, Thy head was on His breast, Pillowed on earth, where now In Heaven the Saints find rest. Refrain
Dear Saint! I stand far off, With vilest sins opprest, Oh may I dare, like thee, To lean upon His Breast? Refrain
His Touch could heal the sick, His Voice could raise the dead, Oh that my soul might be Where He allows thy head. Refrain
The gifts He gave to thee He gave thee to impart And I, too, claim with thee His Mother and His Heart! Refrain
One Minute Reflection – 27 December – Feast of St John tApostle and Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave, Readings: 1 John 1:1-4, Psalm 97:1-2, 5-6, 11-12, John 20:2-8
The disciple who “entered into the mystery of God, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge …” – Col 2:2-3
REFLECTION – “In proportion to the grace that caused Jesus to love him and enabled him to rest on Jesus’ Breast at the Supper (Jn 13:23), John abundantly received [the Spirit’s gifts] of understanding and wisdom (Is 11:2) – understanding with which to comprehend Scripture, wisdom with which to compose his own books with wonderful skill. As a matter of fact, ,he did not receive this gift right from the time when he rested on our Lord’s Breast,, even if he was subsequently able to draw from that Heart “in which are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col 2:3). When he says, that when he went into the tomb “he saw and he believed,” he acknowledges that “they did not yet understand the Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead” (Jn 20:9). Like all the other Apostles, John received its fullness, when the Holy Spirit came [at Pentecost] and when grace had been given to each of them “according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph 4:7). …
The Lord Jesus loved this disciple more than all the others … and opened the secrets of Heaven to him … to make of him the author of that profound Mystery which man can say nothing about, of himself: the Mystery of the Word, God’s Utterance, the Word made flesh. This is the fruit of that love. Yet even though He loved him, it was not to him that Jesus said: “You are Peter, and on this rock I shall build my Church” (Mt 16:18) … While He loved all His disciples and especially Peter, with a love in mind and soul, our Lord loved John with the love of His Heart …. In the order of Apostleship, Simon Peter received the first place and the “keys of the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 16:19) but John, won another inheritance, the spirit of understanding, “a wealth of joy and gladness” (Sir 15:6).” – Rupert of Deutz (c 1075- c 1130) Benedictine Monk, Theologian and Writer (The Works of the Holy Spirit, IV, 10 SC 165)
PRAYER – I am grateful to You for the love You have given me. My dear Jesus, I place this love into Your hands: keep it chaste and bless it, so that it may always be rooted in You. And increase in me my love for You. I know that if I love You, I can never get lost. If I want to be Yours with all my heart, You will never let me stray from You. Amen. May St John the Evangelist, beloved of the Lord and Your Blessed Mother intercede for us that we may love You Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls!
Our Morning Offering – 27 December – Feast of St John the Evangelist and the Third Day of the Christmas Octave
An Exile for the Faith Trans. from the Latin Fr Edward Caswall C. Orat. (1814–1878)
An exile for the faith Of thy Incarnate Lord, Beyond the stars, beyond all space, Thy soul imprisoned soared: There saw in glory Him, Who liveth and was dead; There Judah’s Lion and the Lamb That for our ransom bled.
There of the Kingdom learnt The mysteries sublime; How, sown in Martyrs’ blood, the faith Should spread from clime to clime. The Holy City, bathed In her dear Spouse’s Light, Pure seat of bliss, thy spirit saw And gloried in the sight.
Now to the Lamb’s clear fount, To drink of life their fill, Thou callest all; O Lord, in me This blessed thirst instil. To Jesus, Virgin-born, Praise with the Father be, Praise to the Spirit Paraclete, Through all eternity. Amen.
Saint of the Day – 27 December – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist. Patronages – • against burns; burn victims• against epilepsy• against foot problems• against hailstorms• against poisoning• art dealers• authors, writers• basket makers• bookbinders• booksellers• butchers• compositors• editors• engravers• friendships• glaziers• government officials• harvests• lithographers• notaries• painters• papermakers• publishers• saddle makers• scholars• sculptors• tanners• theologians• typesetters• vintners• Asia Minor (proclaimed on 26 October 1914 by Pope Benedict XV)• 6 Diocese• 7 Cities.
St John, Apostle and Evangelist by Father Francis Xavier Weninger SJ (1805-1888)
St John, Apostle and Evangelist of Jesus Christ, a brother of St James and son of Zebedee and Salome, was born at Bethsaida, a Town in Galilee. Christ, our Lord, called him and his brother James to follow Him, at the time when they were mending their nets in a boat, on the shore of the Sea of Genesareth. John, without delay, left all he possessed, even his own father and, with his brother, followed the Lord. Although the youngest of the Apostles, he was beloved by the Saviour above all the others – whence he is several times mentioned in the Gospel, as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” The cause of this special love of Jesus for him, was, according to the Holy Fathers, his virginal purity, which he kept undefiled and the tender love he bore to the Lord. “He was more beloved than all the other Apostles,” writes St Thomas Aquinas, “on account of his purity.” “For the same reason,” says St. Anselm, “God revealed more mysteries to him, than to the other Apostles. Justly,” says he, “did Christ the Lord reveal the greatest mysteries to him, because he surpassed all in virginal purity.“
It is evident from the Gospel, that St John was one of the most intimate of the friends of the Lord, and was, in consequence, sometimes admitted into Christ’s presence, when, except Peter and James, no other Apostle was allowed to be near. Thus, he was with Christ when He healed the mother-in-law of Peter; when He raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead and when He was transfigured on Mount Thabor. He also accompanied Christ when He suffered His Agony in the Garden of Olives. The other two above-named Apostles ,shared these favours with John but none was permitted to lean upon the Saviour’s bosom, at the last supper, save John; none was recommended as son to the divine Mother but John. Only he, of all the Apostles, followed Christ to Mount Calvary,and remained there with Him, until His death. To recompense this love, Christ gave him to His Mother as her son, when He said: “Behold thy Mother!” Christ, who had lived in virginal chastity, would trust His Virgin Mother to no-one else but John, who himself lived in virginal purity. As St.Jerome says: “Christ, a virgin, recommended Mary, a virgin, to John, a virgin.” No greater grace could John have asked of Christ; no more evident proof could he have received of His love. The most precious thing which the Lord possessed on earth, His holy Mother, He commended to His beloved disciple. He took him as brother, by giving Him as son to His Mother. Who cannot see from all this, that Christ loved and honoured St John above all others?
How deeply this beloved disciple must have suffered by seeing his Saviour die, so ignominious a death, is easily to be conceived; and St Chrysostom hesitates not to call him, therefore, a manifold Martyr. After Christ had died on the Cross, had been taken from it, and interred with all possible honours, St John returned home with the divine Mother, who was now also his mother, and waited for the glorious Resurrection of the Lord. When this had taken place, he participated in the many apparitions of the Lord, by which the disciples were comforted and, doubtless received again, particular marks of love from the Saviour. He afterwards assisted, with the divine Mother and the Apostles and other disciples of Christ, at the wonderful Ascension of the Lord. With these, also, he received, after a ten days’ preparation, the Holy Ghost, on the great festival of Pentecost.
Soon after this, he and Peter had, before all others, the grace to suffer for Christ’s sake. For when these two Apostles had, in the name of Christ, miraculously healed a poor cripple who was lying at the door of the temple of Jerusalem and used this opportunity, to show to the assembled people, that Jesus of Nazareth was the true Messiah.
They were seized, at the instigation of the chief priests,and were cast into prison. On the following day, the priests came together and John and Peter were called before them and asked in whose name and by what power, they had healed the cripple. Peter and John answered fearlessly, that it had been done in the Name of Jesus Christ. The high priest dared not do anything further to them but, setting them free, prohibited them from preaching, in future, the Name of Christ. The two holy Apostles, however, nothing daunted, said: “If it be just in the sight of God to hear you rather than God, judge ye: for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.“
St. John remained for some time in Jerusalem after this and, with the other Apostles, was zealous in his endeavors to convert the Jews. When the Apostles separated, to preach the Gospel over all the world, Asia Minor was assigned to St John. Going thither, he began with great zeal his apostolic functions and, by the gift of miracles, he converted many thousands to the Faith of Christ. The many Bishoprics which he instituted in the principal cities sufficiently prove this. In the course of time, he went also to other countries, preaching everywhere the Word of Christ, with equal success..
The Emperor Domitian, who, after the death of the Emperor Nero, again began to persecute the Christians, ordered his officers to apprehend John and bring him to Rome. Hardly had the holy Apostle arrived there, when he was commanded by the Emperor to sacrifice to the gods. As the Saint refused this and fearlessly confessed Christ, the Emperor had him most cruelly scourged and afterwards, cast into a large caldron, filled with boiling oil. The Saint signed himself and the cauldron with the Holy Cross and remained unharmed, when he was cast into it. This gave him an opportunity to announce, with great energy, to the assembled people, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The tyrant, who could not suffer this, had him taken out of the cauldron, and sentenced him to banishment on the island of Patmos, to work in the mines and perform other hard labour, in company with other Christians. St John had, at that time, reached his ninetieth year but was willing to undergo the unjust sentence.
After his arrival on the island, he had many and wonderful visions, which, by command of God, he put down in writing. The book which contains them, is a part of Holy Writ, called the Apocalypse, or Revelation of St John, a book which,, according to St Jerome, contains almost as many mysteries as words. After the death of Domitian, St John was liberated and returning to Ephesus, remained there until his death. He outlived all the other Apostles, as he reached the age of 100 years. His great labours, wearisome travels and the many hardships he endured, at last enfeebled him to such an extent, that he could not go to the Church without being carried. F
Frequently he repeated, in his exhortations, the words: “My little children, love one another.” Some, annoyed at this, asked him why he so often repeated these words. He answered: “Because it is the commandment of the Lord and if that is done, it suffices.” By this he meant, that if we love each other rightly, we also love God and when we love God and our neighbour, no more is needed to gain salvation – as love to God and to our neighbour contains the keeping of all other commandments.
The holy Apostle, who had suffered and laboured so much for his beloved Master, was, at length, in the year 104, called by Him into heaven to receive his eternal reward.
Besides the Apocalypse, to which we referred above, St John also wrote three Epistles and his Gospel, on account of which, he is called Evangelist. In his Gospel he gives many more facts than the other Evangelists, to prove the Divinity of Jesus Christ; as, at that period, several heretics, as Cerinthus, Ebion and the Nicolaites, fought against this truth. In his Epistles, he exhorts particularly, to love God and our neighbour,and to avoid heretics. In the first, among other things, he explains that love to God consists in keeping the commandments of God, which are not difficult to keep. “For this is the charity of God,” writes he, “that we keep His commandments;and His commandments are not heavy.” Of the love of our neighbour he says, that it must manifest itself in works, that is, we must assist our brethren in their need and, if necessary, give even our lives for them, after the example of Christ. The holy Apostle exemplified his words by his actions.
Several holy Fathers relate the following of him. The Saint had given a youth in charge of a Bishop, with the commendation to instruct him carefully in virtue and sacred sciences. After some years, when the Saint returned to this Bishop and asked for the young man, he heard with deep sorrow, that he had secretly left and had joined the highwaymen and had even become their chief. The holy Apostle set out at once and went, not without danger to his life, into the woods, where the unhappy young man was said, to be. Finding him, he spoke most kindly to him and succeeded in bringing him back. It is touching to read how the holy, man promised to atone for the youth’s sins, if he would repent and lead a better life. The youth followed the Saint’s admonition and did penance with such fervour and zeal, that the Saint hesitated not to give him charge of the Church at Ephesus. (1876)
St John, Pray for Holy Mother Church, Pray for us all!
Nossa Senhora do Rosário / Our Lady of the Rosary (Atibaia, São Paulo, Brazil) (1817) – 27 December:
In 1763, slaves who couldn’t attend St John the Baptist’s, the main Church in Atibaia, began building their own. Completed in 1817, the Church is often called Nossa Senhora do Rosário dos Pretos, Our Lady of the Rosary of the Blacks. This agricultural City is home to the oldest and most active tradition in the region. The five indigenous groups in Atibaia combine African and Portuguese religious practices, centered around devotion to St Benedict and Our Lady of the Rosary. On 27 December, as they have for over 200 years, the locals gather outside Our Lady’s Church at dawn, dressed in brilliant uniforms of scarlet, green, blue, pink, or white and carrying swords, banners and musical instruments.
The day begins with a serenade and ends with fireworks. In between, to the sound of drums, guitars and pealing bells, the faithful process dancing through the City: young, old, male, female, black and white. The festa of Our Lady of the Rosary is part of a Christmas celebration beginning on 25 December with the erection of two towering poles topped with images of the Saints in Rosary Plaza and concluding 28 December with processions and Holy Mass honouring St Benedict.
Bl Adelheidis of Tennenbach Bl Alejo Pan López Bl Alfredo Parte-Saiz Bl Christina Ebner
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