Below is adapted from the allocutio I will give tonight on St. John the Evangelist. The reading comes from Ch. 24, The Patrons of the Legion, in Legio Mariae. (The allocutio is the talk given on a portion of the handbook during the weekly Legion of Mary meeting, either by the spiritual director or the president.)
St. John the Evangelist:
· The disciple whom Jesus loved
· First, was a model of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
· Then became the model of devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
· “Pure as an angel”
· Through St. John, Mary’s motherhood over all men was revealed and explained
· He was Mary’s priest
I like the idea of “friend saints,” those we befriend and pray to in an effort to emulate their traits or life, and who can help us get closer to the Divine. St. John the Evangelist must be a particularly good friend saint, especially for Legionaries, given his relationship with Mary. Here, Frank Duff describes him in a child-like and tender way, with references to his attributes as a son, angel-like, close to Jesus and his Mother.
He has several titles: St. John the Theologian, St. John the Beloved, St. John the Divine, St. John the Evangelist. His particular trait seems to have always been to remain close to Christ throughout his life – present at the marriage at Cana, present at Gethsemane, present at the crucifixion, and the first of the apostles to reach the tomb at the resurrection.
St. John can inspire in us the same steadfast love for our Lord and his Mother that he showed in his own life. That seems to be the overwhelming mark of his life – not just as someone who wrote a Gospel, but someone who lived in a way symbolic of the life we can all choose, choosing to live your life in a close and personal relationship with Jesus.
Can you imagine what it feels like to be known as Jesus’s beloved? "(Insert your name) the Beloved." And yet, we are all beloved in Jesus’s eyes. We must never forget this. Perhaps St. John already knew this, and his gift was not just seeking, but accepting Jesus’s love in his life. Would you find it difficult to be called Jesus’s Beloved? Would you feel worthy?
We are all called to be saints. We miss the mark, of course, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, or can’t, try. St. John shows us that the first step to sainthood is finding Jesus, following Him, staying close, and loving Him with all our hearts. What wonderful things would be in store for us if we truly lived that way! How our worries and despair would fall away in the knowledge that we are Jesus’s beloved, that He is God, and that it is enough. The simplicity of this statement is remarkable, yet John understood it profoundly, and he lived it.
St. John is a friend of the Legion. He is a reminder that we are all called to stay close to Jesus and Mary and that to live this way, one must simply make the choice to do so.