Tuesday, December 27, 2011

St. John the Evangelist

No matter what I do, I can't seem to get out of this funk I'm in.  There are moments when I feel like I might be peeking my head out of the hole, but the feeling doesn't last long.  Before I know it, I'm back down in the depths of it, in total darkness.

Even in the midst of this situation, I keep looking for a way out.  I can't seem to get the Saints (NOT as in New Orleans the football team....but the martyred kind) out of my mind.  Somehow, I'm being drawn to them.  I already have my favorites....St. Padre Pio, Blessed John Paul II, St. Agatha, St. Anne,  St. Monica...etc.  But, I feel like I need to go deeper...towards the lesser known or less studied Saints.  I feel as though there is something there for me.  In addition, I feel as though I'm being drawn to the ancient iconic images.  I honestly have no idea why.

Since I have nowhere else to go, and because I feel as though I'm lost....I'm going to lean in the direction that I feel I'm being lead.  For those of you who know me...and love me, will you please go with me?

Today, December 27th is the Feast Day of St. John the Evangelist.  I learned something about him that I did not know....or I think I knew but just never focused on:  He was the only one who did not abandon Jesus at the moment of crucifixion.  He remained near the cross.  Then, of course, Jesus entrusted the care of His Mother, Mary to John's care.

He stayed.  He watched.  He experienced the suffering and death of Jesus up close and personal.  Where did everybody else go?  Why didn't they stay?  Why did John stay?  What did he think about as he watched the Master submit to the will of God?  I wonder if at any time he regretted his decision to become a disciple of Jesus.  I also wonder if while watching Jesus hang there, did he lose faith in Him?  Did he wonder if he had been following a kook all this time?

Still, in spite of what he was thinking....or what he was feeling, he stayed put!  This is what I need to keep inside my heart.  It doesn't matter what my head is thinking....or what my heart is feeling....God has NOT left me!  Even though I feel abandoned....He is here, in the midst of this depression.  He SEES me.  I matter to Him!

In my reading about St. John, I found that he is the protector of  booksellers, writers, theologians, artists, templars, stationers, and typographers.  He is also invoked against false friends.

This is a painting by Pedro Berruguete (a Spanish early Renaissance artist) from 1485.  It hangs in the convent of Saint Thomas in Avila, Spain (now a museum).  St. John is almost always depicted as a youth with an eagle and a book.

I don't know any details about the painting.  I can only assume that he is writing his Gospel...or perhaps his visions from the island of Patmos (Revelation).

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