Our Inner, Interior Life

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4 January 2018

It is a new year. The Church celebrates the 1st of January with the feast of the Motherhood of the Virgin Mary. Then, for the next few days, she places before us the first chapter of the Gospel of John.

Today’s Gospel is from John 1:35-42. We encounter John the Baptist, two of his disciples, Jesus and then finally Andrew and Simon Peter. When John proclaimed, “Look, there is the lamb of God,” the two disciples left John and followed Jesus. We read:

Jesus turned around, saw them following and said, ‘What do you want?’ They answered, ‘Rabbi,’ – which means Teacher – ‘where do you live?’ ‘Come and see’ he replied; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him the rest of that day. It was about the tenth hour.

The “tenth hour” is 4 pm. It was such a striking encounter that John remembered the time. It was such a subtle moment that John remembered Our Lord’s exact words. Imagine it! Jesus asks, “what do you want?’ Jesus inviting, “come and see.”

Origen was one of the earliest theologians in the life of the Church. He lived 185-254AD. It was Origen who said:

You will not understand the Gospel of John unless you place your head on the breast of Christ and take Mary as your Mother.

At the Last Supper, John sat next to Jesus and reclined on him – as was the custom – and thereby felt the heartbeat of Christ. As he died on the Cross, Jesus entrusted Mary, his mother, to John.

The Gospel is a fine work of literature. Origen understood this well. But he realized, even more so, that the Gospel makes present Jesus in a most tangible way. Christ comes alive.

When we take Origen’s advice and ask for the grace to place our head on Christ’s breast and have Mary as our mother, our inner, interior life is set aflame.

“May this grace be ours this day, Lord God,” we pray.


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