• Of a Pure Mind and Simple Intention (1)

    From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Sat Dec 26 23:27:09 2020
    Of a Pure Mind and Simple Intention (1)

    MAN is raised up from the earth by two wings-simplicity and purity.
    There must be simplicity in his intention and purity in his desires.
    Simplicity leads to God, purity embraces and enjoys Him. If your heart
    is free from ill-ordered affection, no good deed will be difficult for
    you. If you aim at and seek after nothing but the pleasure of God and
    the welfare of your neighbor, you will enjoy freedom within.
    --Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ Book 2, Chapter 4

    December 27th - St. John the Evangelist.

    St. John the Evangelist, like Shakespeare, has something about him
    which irresistibly attracts the crank, and probably more books have
    been written and more wildly fantastic theories advanced about his
    writings and their authorship than about any other writer who ever
    lived. The reason may perhaps lie in the strange twosidedness of his
    character. How, says the critic, can works so profound have been
    written by a mere Galilean fisherman? How can the author of the
    Johannine epistles, with their message of love and brotherhood, be the fire-breathing visionary of the Apocalypse? Or how can the 'Son of
    Thunder' who wanted Christ to call down fire from heaven upon the
    inhospitable Samaritans (Luke 9:54) be identified with the gentle
    'disciple whom Jesus loved' and to whom he bequeathed the care of his
    Blessed Mother? Yet no theory of multiple authorship will fit the
    facts, for all these different St. Johns are intimately and
    inextricably mingled in all the Johannine writings. The unlearned
    fisherman is there in the extreme simplicity of syntax and vocabulary.
    The mystical theologian is there in the Prologue (John 1:1 ff), the
    Discourse in the upper room (John 13 to 17) and the First Epistle. The
    Son of Thunder is there in the truculent speeches of Jesus and in St.
    John's own denunciation of 'Antichrist' (I John 2:18 ff). The
    differences between the Apocalypse and the other writings are balanced
    by equally striking similarities. Even in the anecdotes of St. John's
    old age, preserved by second century writers, we find the same
    contrast. The aged bishop of Ephesus, who condensed all Christian
    teaching into the one imperative, 'Little children, love one another,'
    was the same St. John who refused to enter a public bath-house where
    Cerinthus the heretic was known to be, for fear lest fire from heaven
    should destroy the very building (fire from heaven again"). In short,
    we are still in the same position as those priests who interrogated
    St. John after Pentecost (Acts 4:13) and who, 'discovering that Peter
    and John were simple men, without learning, were astonished.'
    Astonishment: that is what everyone must feel who comes to close
    quarters with St. John.

    It is as well to remember, of course, that at least 50 years--half a
    century of prayer and meditation, of teaching and debate--separate St.
    John the Apostle from St. John the Evangelist. As a very young man he
    had listened to John the Baptist, and when the Baptist pointed to
    Jesus and said 'Behold the Lamb of God' he had transferred his
    allegiance to our Lord. A few months later, when he and his elder
    brother James were helping their father with his fishing, Jesus called
    to them, 'and they, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the
    hired men, turned aside after him' (Mark 1:20). Thereafter these two,
    with Peter, became the closest and most constant companions of Christ.
    They alone were with him at the raising of Jairus's daughter, at the Transfiguration and in Gethsemane. After the resurrection they became,
    along with James son of Alphaeus, the 'pillars of the Church'
    (Galatians 2:7) in Jerusalem; but after his elder brother had been
    beheaded by Herod (C. 44 A.D.) St. John seems to have left Palestine,
    and it is James the Less who is bishop of Jerusalem at the time of St.
    Paul's last visit (c. 57 A.D.). Of St. John's own movements between
    then and his exile on the island of Patmos we know nothing. Even the
    date of that exile is uncertain, depending on whether we take the
    wicked emperor of the Apocalypse to be Nero or Domitian. But all
    authorities agree that he spent his later years at Ephesus, acting as
    patriarch to the churches of Asia; that he died there at a great age,
    about the end of the century; and that it was only in these later
    years that he consented, under pressure from his disciples, to commit
    his Gospel to writing.

    Everything that St. John ever wrote could be contained in quite a
    small booklet, yet so rich is the vein that one is embarrassed to know
    how best to sample it in such a brief note as this. Should one
    concentrate on the famous 'Logos-doctrine'-that Christ was the 'Word'
    of God, the word by which he created all things and by which he spoke
    to Moses and the prophets? Or should one discuss St. John's insistence
    on Faith-by which he meant not only belief in the divinity of Christ
    but also an absolute and boundless trust? He certainly abhorred all
    heretics, especially those who denied the actual, earthly, fleshly
    reality of God-made-man in this world. Or should one concentrate on
    John the contemplative, the spiritual father of all Christian monks
    and nuns? Or on the visionary of the Apocalypse? Or on the poet of the
    Gospel prologue?

    St. John himself would probably have said that the whole of him is
    summed up in the single sentence of his first Epistle (I John 4:8),
    that 'God is love.' It was love which had brought God down to earth in
    the person of Jesus, and it is only by love-of God and of his
    fellowmen--that a man can join himself, through Christ, to God. And
    this union with God--for the body in the Blessed Sacrament, for the
    mind and will by faith and good works-is the only thing that matters.
    It is life and light and victory and bliss, here and everywhere, now
    and forever. But it can all be summed up and bound together by the one
    word 'love.' Love of God implies faith and trust and obedience. Love
    of our neighbor implies all that is meant by 'right conduct.' All
    goodness, all happiness, all wisdom is included in that single word.

    'And he who sat on the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. I
    am Alpha, I am Omega, the beginning of all things and their end; those
    who are thirsty shall drink--it is my free gift--out of the spring
    whose water is life. (Revelation 21:5.)

    Jesus had promised that water to Nicodemus (John 3:5), to the
    Samaritan woman (John 4:13) and to all the world (John 7:37), but it
    is St. John who most simply and clearly shows us where the well of it
    is to be found. 'God,' says St. John, and he was the first to say it,
    among all the philosophers, prophets and saints of the world, 'God is
    love,' and only in his love can the thirst of all the world be

    Saint Quote:
    What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the
    feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and
    want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is
    what love looks like.
    -- Saint Augustine of Hippo

    Bible Quote:
    Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod!  (Mark 8:15)

    Blessed Throne

    In moment approaching
    Through grace that is shone
    A kneeling before
    Your blessed throne
    One of great honour
    Our Creator, our King
    An underserved sinner
    With nothing to bring
    In fear and trembling
    A respect that is due
    Our life in Your hands
    All laid before You
    See now a manger
    Son hung on a tree
    A passion of love
    Is blessed with mercy

    Poem/Prayer by Daryl Madden
    From On a Bench of Wood
    Find him here: https://darylmadden.wordpress.com/about/

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