Monday, December 27, 2010

Feast of St. John the Evangelist

El Greco
the Beloved

The Gospel for the Mass of Christmas Day was the majestic and moving openning of the Gospel of John - "In the beginning was the Word..." Today the Church gives us the opportunity to celebrate the memory of the author of that work whoever he/she may be and the Apostle John for whom the Gospel was named, as was customary for authors wanting to give praise to their principal source.

This morning Fr. Thomas Deely, CSsR made his way over to our monastery, faithful as he is to his contemplative sisters, in spite of 18 inches of snow and higher drifts. In the course of his homily he reminded us of the custom of blessing wine on this day. I suspect that the legend mentioned in the first blessing is something from the Gospel of Thomas. This Gospel did not make the cut when the Gospel canon that we know today was decided upon.

Be so kind as to bless and consecrate with Your right hand, Lord, this cup of wine, and every drink. Grant that by the merits of Saint John the Apostle and Evangelist, all who believe in You and drink of this cup may be blessed and protected. Blessed John drank poison from the cup, and was in no way harmed. So, too, may all who this day drink from this cup in honor of Blessed John, by his merits, be freed from every sickness by poisoning and from any harms whatever. And, when they have offered themselves in both soul and body, may they be freed, too, from every fault, through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
Bless, Lord, this beverage which You have made. May it be a healthful refreshment to all who drink of it. And grant by the invocation of Your holy name that whoever tastes of it may, by Your generosity receive health of both soul and body, through Christ our Lord. Amen

Fr. Tom left a bottle of blessed wine with us which we will share at our dinner. We are very grateful for the attentiveness of all of the Redemptorists at Mt. St. Alphonsus Retreat Center who are so faithful in providing us with daily Mass. Many contemplative nuns are not so fortunate.

Do you know someone named John who may appreciate a feastday greeting from you today? 

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