Wednesday 18 November 2015

Saint John of the Cross - 14th December Saint Jean de la Croix - le 14 décembre

“Holy Father, give those you have given me true to your Name, so that they be one like us.”

Is.43,1-3a 4-5 Ps.138(139) Rm.8,14-18.28-30 Jn.17,11b.17-26

Saint John of the Cross 14th December

“Consecrate them in the Truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”

For the feast of Saint John of the Cross, we read the passage of the last part of Jesus’ prayer for unity in the Gospel of St. John. After having first of all prayed the Father to first of all ’glorify’ him in this ’Hour’ where his mission draws to a close, having then prayed for those whom the Father gave to him and who have come to share the Last Supper, it is with resolution that Jesus turns towards the future of evangelisation, towards all the future generations of those who are going to receive His Good News and who will believe in Him.

He foresees the success of the mission of his first disciples whom he says he sends into the world, already praying for the disciples who surround him in this final evening of his life as a free man, Jesus prayed for the future Christians of whom we are a part : indeed, his first disciples already represent his work, they are the image of what Christians of all generations ought to be like.

’For them, I consecrate myself, ’said Jesus. His Cross will be the visible expression of his Victory of Love for the Father and for our Salvation. Jesus makes the source of Life burst forth in our hearts, this source was buried deep down beneath thick layers of hatred and evil.Throughout his life on this earth, Jesus held out firmly, conquering all the obstacles against Love : betrayal, denial, rejection. In the Risen Lord Jesus, humanity is once again standing and can be consecrated to the service of God. The work of John of the Cross sings of this victory.

“I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me.May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in men and I in you., so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave to me, so that they may be one as we are one. With me in them, and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognise that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me.”

We have here the summit of the new unity asked for by Jesus : may the Glory that Jesus shares with the Father right from the beginnings be shared and communicated to all believers.

’ You shall be judged upon Love’, said Saint John of the Cross. At the end of our lives, all that will remain will be the Love with which we have loved.

’We must place a veil over our brothers’ deficiencies, sins, and we mustn’t look at them first of all from the outside, but above all else we must love these brothers ’, he says again.

The two dimension of the Cross are designed : the vertical dimension with God’s Love made known in our life through Jesus, and the horizontal dimension which the Holy Spirit makes known to be at work in our lives so that we, in our own turn, love. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, ’the Little Flower’, was a daughter of St. John of the Cross. She discovered how tenderly loved she was by God and she established her dwelling place in Love with absolute assurance. She allowed herself to be plunged into the Love of the Father, and in this place, she held out right to the end despite many trials, particularly of faith, because she constantly dwelt in Love.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Father, Upright one, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the Love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.”

Such unity is a challenge for believers in the world who have not ’known ’Jesus, the One sent from the Father. Jesus does not make any precisions about the destiny of the world which does not accept Him, but he manifests his will that believers be in unity with Him, where he is, and that they contemplate His Glory, the Glory given to Him by the Father. It is true that they have already seen the glory of Jesus during his ministry, and that they will see the glory of the Risen Lord Jesus, but it is important to add to this that definitive and finished manifestation of Jesus’ Glory is reserved to the believers who join their’ Master and Lord’ where he now is, in the Glory of the Father. The same Love that saves us glorifies the Father, and so we come to an understanding of the link between the Love of God and the Love of his brothers!

Saint John of the Cross was put into prison by his brothers in Toledo, as Christ had been imprisoned . It is while he is in this prison that he writes his beautiful Canticle on the Victorious Love of God !

We too go through ordeals in our own lives. We need to hold out strongly. We can indeed do this, in a spirit of tiny-littleness, letting ourselves be guided by the Infinite Love of God.

’Father, ’said Jesus ’I want them to see my Glory.’ This Glory is the shining forth of the Love of God, the victory of his Infinite Love.

We ask for the grace to follow Jesus on the way where He saves us so we can enter into the victory of his Love.