Posted in ART DEI, EASTER, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, PRAYERS to the SAINTS, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Quote/s of the Day – 27 December – Feast of St John

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

Posted in CHRIST the WORD and WISDOM, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SACRED HEART QUOTES, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The WORD

One Minute Reflection – 27 December – ‘The Lord Jesus loved this disciple more than all the others …’

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!

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, HYMNS, Our MORNING Offering, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Our Morning Offering – 27 December – St John, An Exile for the Faith

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.

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS

Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

Saint of the Day – 27 December – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

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.

Anthony van Dyck

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.

Fresco in the Cappella Brancacci, Florence, attributed to Masolino da Panicale (1383 – c.1447). It is part of the cycle of frescoes painted between 1425 and 1427 depicting the life of St. Peter. It shows the Apostle, accompanied by StJohn, giving his hand to a cripple seeking alms. The cripple is instantly cured.

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.

Anthony van Dyck

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..

Anthony van Dyck oil, oak 64,5 x 50 cm

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!

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MARIAN TITLES, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, YouTube VIDEOS

Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, Nossa Senhora do Rosário / Our Lady of the Rosar (Atibaia, São Paulo, Brazil) (1817) and Memorials of the Saints – 27 December

Third Day of the Christmas Octave

St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved (Feast)
St John the Beloved:

https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-john-the-apostle-and-evangelist/
AND:
https://anastpaul.com/2020/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-the-disciple-whom-jesus-loved-the-eagle-by-dom-prosper-gueranger/

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

St Fabiola (Died 399) Physician, Foundress of the first known hospital and hospice, disciple of St Jerome, benefactress of the Church.
St Fabiola’s Life:

https://anastpaul.com/2019/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-st-fabiola-died-399/

Bl Francesco Spoto
Bl Hesso of Beinwil
St José María Corbin-Ferrer
St Maximus of Alexandria
St Nicarete of Constantinople
Bl Odoardo Focherini
Bl Raymond de Barellis
Bl Roger of Verdun

Blessed Sára Schalkház S.S.S. (1899–1944) Martyr, Religious Sister of The Sisters of Social Service, Teacher.
Biography of Blessed Sára:

https://anastpaul.com/2018/12/27/saint-of-the-day-27-december-blessed-sara-salkahazi-s-s-s-1899-1944-martyr-a-catholic-gem/

St Theodore of Apamea
St Theophanes of Nicaea
Bl Walto of Wessobrünn

Posted in FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, MEDITATIONS - ANTONIO CARD BACCI, QUOTES - J R R Tolkien and MORE, QUOTES on CHASTITY, QUOTES on PURITY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The HEART

Thought for the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist

Thought for the Day – 26 December – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971) – Feast of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, the Beloved

St John the Apostle and Evangelist

“St John was the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ.
He was allowed, along with St Peter and St James, to enjoy the glory of the Transfiguration and, he was invited with them into the Garden of Gethsemane to witness the agonu ofour divine Redeemer.
In the Cenacle, moreover, after he had received the Blessed Eucharist, he was the only one of the Apostles privileged to rest his head on the breast of Jesus.
He stood at the foot of the Cross on Mount Calvary and heard his Master entrust to him, with His dying breath, the most precious treasure which still remained to Him on earth, the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Son, behold thy Mother.”

It is true, that Jesus loved all His Apostles, to all of whom He granted the happiness of enjoying His company, listening to His teaching and witnessing, His miracles.
Even so, He had a special affection for St John.
This was because John was a virgin when Jesus called him and remained so, all his life.
The state of virginity is especially pleasing to God.
It makes us like the Angels and, in a sense, superior to them, since these pure spirits are naturally chaste and, we can only succeed in being so, by means of great self-control.
“Blessed are the pure of heart,” says Jesaus in the Gospel, “for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8).

The privilege of the vision of God is attributed, in a special way, to the pure of heart.
Therefore, St John, the virgin Apostle, begins his Gospel with a descriptio of the intimate life of the eternal God.
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word, was God” (Jn 1:1).
He soars above the earth like an eagle, as St Jerome observes and penetrates into the presence of God Himself.

We know that we shall never be called to scale such heights.
We may not even have a vocation to live as virgins.
But, we are all required to be clean of heart.
Purity is a virtue which all Christians should possess in whatever manner is appropriate to their position in life.
Let us examine ourselves strictly on this matter and make suitable resolutions for the future
.”

Antonio Cardinal Bacci

Posted in CATECHESIS, CHRISTMASTIDE!, FEASTS and SOLEMNITIES, QUOTES for CHRIST, QUOTES of the SAINTS, QUOTES on CHASTITY, SAINT of the DAY, The APOSTLES & EVANGELISTS, The BLESSED VIRGIN MARY

Saint of the Day – 27 December – The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle by Dom Prosper Guéranger

Saint of the Day – 27 December – St John the Apostle and Evangelist.

The days following Christmas are full of symbolic meaning, as on 26 December we honour the first Martyr, St Stephen, who shed his blood for Jesus. 27 December, honours St John the Evangelist, the Disciple of Jesus who wrote the Gospel of John and the book of Revelation. Interestingly enough, he is the only Gospel writer to omit a narrative of Jesus’ birth. Based on this fact alone, it seems strange to include him during the Octave of Christmas. What is the Church’s reason behind this choice? Servant of God, Dom Prosper Guéranger in his Liturgical Year, points to St John’s pure chastity and his focus on the Divinity of Christ, as the reasons why he is honoured now at the Crib of Christ.

Dom Prosper Guéranger OSB (1805-1875)

The Disciple Whom Jesus Loved, the Eagle

“Nearest to Jesus’ Crib, after Stephen, stands John, the Apostle and Evangelist. It was only right, that the first place should be assigned to him, who so loved his God, that he shed his blood in his service; for, as this God Himself declares, greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends [1 John, 15:13] and Martyrdom has ever been counted, by the Church, as the greatest act of love and as having, consequently, the power of remitting sins, like a second Baptism. But, next to the sacrifice of Blood, the noblest, the bravest and, which most wins the heart of Him, who is the Spouse of souls, is the sacrifice of Virginity. Now, just as St Stephen is looked upon as the type of Martyrs, St John is honoured as the Prince of Virgins. Martyrdom won for Stephen the Crown and palm; Virginity merited for John most singular prerogatives, which, while they show how dear to God, is holy Chastity, put this Disciple among those, who, by their dignity and influence, are above the rest of men.

St. John was of the family of David, as was our Blessed Lady. He was, consequently, a relation of Jesus. This same honour belonged to St James the Greater, his Brother; as also to St James the Less and St Jude, both Sons of Alpheus. When our Saint was in the prime of his youth, he left, not only his boat and nets, not only has lather Zebedee but, even his betrothed, when everything was prepared for the marriage. He followed Jesus and never once looked back. Hence, the special love which our Lord bore him. Others were Disciples or Apostles, John was the Friend, of Jesus. The cause of this our Lord’s partiality, was, as the Church tells us in the Liturgy, that John had offered his Virginity to the Man-God. Let us, on this his Feast, enumerate the graces and privileges that came to St John from his being The Disciple whom Jesus loved.

This very expression of the Gospel, which the Evangelist repeats several times — The Disciple whom Jesus loved [John, 13:23, 19:26, 21:7, 21:20] — says more than any commentary could do. St Peter, it is true, was chosen by our Divine Lord, to be the Head of the Apostolic College and the Rock whereon the Church was to be built – he, then, was honoured most but St John was loved most. Peter was bid to love more than the rest loved and he was able to say, in answer to Jesus’ thrice repeated question, that he did love Him in this highest way and yet, notwithstanding, John was more loved by Jesus than was Peter himself, because his Virginity deserved this special mark of honour.

Chastity of soul and body brings him, who possesses i,t into a sacred nearness and intimacy with God. Hence it was, that at the Last Supper – that Supper, which was to be renewed on our Altars, to the end of the world, in order to cure our spiritual infirmities and give life to our souls – John was placed near to Jesus, nay, was permitted, as the tenderly loved Disciple, to lean his head upon the Breast of the Man-God. Then it was, that he was filled and from their very Fountain, with Light and Love, it was both a recompense and a favour and became the source of two signal graces, which make St John an object of special reverence to the whole Church.

Divine wisdom, wishing to make known to the world, the Mystery of the Word and commit to Scripture, those profound secrets, which, so far, no pen of mortal had been permitted to write — the task was put upon John. Peter had been crucified, Paul had been beheaded and the rest of the Apostles had laid down their lives in testimony of the Truths they had been sent to preach to the world; John was the only one left in the Church. Heresy had already begun its blasphemies against the Apostolic Teachings; it refused to admit the Incarnate Word as the Son of God, Consubstantial to the Father. John was asked by the Churches to speak and he did so in language heavenly above measure. His Divine Master had reserved to this, his Virgin-Disciple, the honour of writing those sublime Mysteries, which the other Apostles had been commissioned only to teach — THE WORD WAS GOD, and this WORD WAS MADE FLESH for the salvation of mankind.

Thus did our Evangelist soar, like the Eagle, up to the Divine Sun and gaze upon Him with undazzled eye, because his heart and senses were pure and, therefore, fitted for such vision of the uncreated Light. If Moses, after having conversed with God in the cloud, came from the divine interview with rays of miraculous light encircling his head – how radiant must have been the face of St John, which had rested on the very Heart of Jesus, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge! [Col. 2:3] how sublime his writings! how divine his teaching! Hence, the symbol of the Eagle, shown to the Prophet Ezechiel, [Ezechiel 1:10, 10:14] and to St John himself in his Revelations, [Apoc. 4:7] has been assigned to him by the Church and, to this title of The Eagle has been added, by universal tradition, the other beautiful name of Theologian. This was the first recompense given by Jesus to his Beloved John, a profound penetration into divine Mysteries. The second was the imparting to him a most ardent charity, which was equally a grace consequent upon his angelic purity, for purity unburdens the soul from grovelling egotistic affections and raises it to a chaste and generous love. John had treasured up in his heart the Discourses of his Master, he made them known to the Church and, especially, that divine one of the Last Supper, wherein Jesus had poured forth His whole Soul to His own, whom he had always tenderly loved but most so, at the end [John, 13:1]. He wrote his Epistles and Charity is his subject – God is Charity — he that loveth not, knoweth not God — perfect Charity casteth out fear — and so on throughout, always on Love. During the rest of his life, even when so enfeebled by old age as not to be able to walk, he was forever insisting upon all men loving each other, after the example of God, who had loved them and so loved them! Thus, he that had announced more clearly than the rest of the Apostles the divinity of the Incarnate Word, was by excellence, the Apostle of that divine Charity, which Jesus came to enkindle upon the earth.

But, our Lord had a further gift to bestow and it was sweetly appropriate to the Virgin-Disciple. When dying on His cross, Jesus left Mary upon this earth. Joseph had been dead now some years. Who, then, shall watch over His Mother? who is there worthy of the charge? Will Jesus send His Angels to protect and console her? — for, surely, what man could ever merit to be to her as a second Joseph? Looking down, he sees the Virgin-Disciple standing at the foot of the Cross – we know the rest, John is to be Mary’s Son — Mary is to be John’s Mother. Oh! wonderful Chastity, that wins from Jesus such an inheritance as this! Peter, says St Peter Damian, shall have left to him the Church, the Mother of men; but John, shall receive Mary, the Mother of God, whom he will love as his own dearest Treasure and to whom, he will stand in Jesus’ stead; whilst Mary will tenderly love John, her Jesus’ Friend, as her Son.

The Blessed Virgin in the House of St John by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1859

Can we be surprised after this, that St John is looked upon by the Church as one of her greatest glories? He is a Relative of Jesus in the flesh; he is an Apostle, a Virgin, the Friend of the Divine Spouse, the Eagle, the Theologian, the Son of Mary; he is an Evangelist, by the history he has given of the Life of his Divine Master and Friend; he is a Sacred Writer, by the three Epistles he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost; he is a Prophet, by his mysterious Apocalypse, wherein are treasured the secrets of time and eternity. But, is he a Martyr? Yes, for if he did not complete his sacrifice, he drank the Chalice of Jesus [Matt. 20:22], when, after being cruelly scourged, he was thrown into a caldron of boiling oil, before the Latin Gate, at Rome. He was, therefore, a Martyr in desire and intention, though not in fact. If our Lord, wishing to prolong a life so dear to the Church, as well as to show how he loves and honours Virginity, — miraculously stayed the effects of the frightful punishment, St John had, on his part, unreservedly accepted Martyrdom.

Such is the companion of Stephen at the Crib, wherein lies our Infant Jesus. If the Protomartyr dazzles us with the robes he wears of the bright scarlet of his own blood — is not the virginal whiteness of John’s vestment fairer than the untrod snow? The spotless beauty of the Lilies of Mary’s adopted Son and the bright vermilion of Stephen’s Roses — what is there more lovely than their union? Glory, then, be to our New-Born King, whose court is tapestried with such heaven-made colours as these! Yes, Bethlehem’s Stable is a very heaven on earth and we have seen its transformation. First, we saw Mary and Joseph alone there — they were adoring Jesus in his Crib; then, immediately, there descended a heavenly host of Angels singing the wonderful Hymn; the Shepherds soon followed, the humble simple-hearted Shepherds; after these, entered Stephen the Crowned and John the Beloved Disciple; and, even before there enters the pageant of the devout Magi, we shall have others coming in and there will be, each day, grander glory in the Cave and gladder joy in our hearts. Oh! this Birth of our Jesus! Humble as it seems, yet, how divine! What King or Emperor ever received, in his gilded cradle, honours like these shown to the Babe of Bethlehem? Let us unite our homage with that given him by these the favoured inmates of his court. Yesterday, the sight of the Palm in Stephen’s hand animated us and we offered to our Jesus the promise of a stronger Faith: to-day, the Wreath, that decks the brow of the Beloved Disciple, breathes upon the Church the heavenly fragrance of Virginity — an intenser love of Purity must be our resolution and our tribute to the Lamb.