Hello to you all,
I hope that you are all enjoying this beautiful chapter in the Gospel of John. I feel like even though I’ve read or heard these lines so many times, I can still see a different idea or a deeper understanding of an idea as I read these chapters again.
One thing that impressed me for the first time in this recent reading is the idea in verse 9 when Jesus says “Of those whom you gave me, I lost not one.” Even though this is a dreadful time of His arrest and imminent suffering and death, He is still mindful of those whom the Father has given Him, and He wants to make sure that they are safe and protected and not separated from Him. Even in an amazing chapter, this point seems especially amazing to me.
St Therese of Lisieux, in her autobiography “The Story of a Soul” touched on this topic when she wrote “O Jesus, it is not even necessary to say ‘when drawing me, draw the souls whom I love!’ This simple statement “draw me” suffices; I understand, Lord, that when a soul allows herself to be captivated by the odor of your ointments, she cannot run alone, all the souls whom she loves follow in her train; this is done without constraint, without effort, it is a natural consequence of her attraction to You. Just as a torrent, throwing itself with impetuosity into the ocean, drags after itself everything it encounters in its passage, in the same way, O Jesus, the soul who plunges into the shoreless ocean of Your love, draws with her all the treasures she possesses. Lord, you know it, I have no other treasures than the souls it has pleased You to unite to mine; it is You who entrusted these treasures to me, and so I dare to borrow the words You addressed to the heavenly Father, the last night which saw You on our earth as a traveler and a mortal….I want to be able to say to You.. ‘I have manifested Your name to those whom You have given me out of the world. They were Yours, and You have given them to me…'”
I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of wanting our loved ones to share in the riches and the beauty of our faith. When a family member, a friend or a co-worker is suffering a great loss and doesn’t have faith in God that could give them some hope in what seems to them to be a hopeless situation, we want to bring them the comfort that our faith can provide. In times of illness and suffering, it is so painful to see someone you love act as though they believe their ordeal is meaningless. This comment by Jesus seems to me to reminds us that we are called to bring the light that comes from our faith in God to those around us, and especially to those “whom God has given us”.
And that same idea makes me tremendously grateful for the family members and friends who who have shared their faith with me, and encouraged me on this journey. We do pray for others and we know that others pray for us, and this comment in this chapter really reminded me of the importance of this. I’m sure that each of you has your own stories about your own journey in faith.
As always, there is so much for us to learn and discuss in these chapters, and I continue to learn so much from each of you. Please feel free to contact Franciene or I if you have any questions or comments.
You all are in our prayers,
Franciene and Karen