Friday, April 22, 2011
I spent from 12 to 3 praying over chapters 13, 14, 15, and 19 of John's Gospel, listening to Victoria's "Tenebrae" and Allegri's "Miserere," and gazing at this picture on a postcard. It's a detail of a powerful icon of Christ that is in St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai.
At the beginning of chapter 13 John says of Jesus, "Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end." Love is the theme that runs through this long talk Jesus has with his disciples at the Last Supper and indeed John's whole account of the Passion and Death of Jesus. Jesus tells his followers then and now, "On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." Jesus goes to his death "so that the world may know that I love the Father." And he assures us, "If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and remain in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you."
I felt encircled by love, saturated with love, embraced by the outstretched arms of Jesus on the cross, and pierced by the loving gaze of this icon of Jesus.