This year for my Saint of the year I had chosen John the Apostle. I have studied the Gospel of John at the Avila Institute and I learned so much about this Beloved Apostle.
Throughout the year I have been pointed in prayer to the Apparition at Knock Ireland in 1879. This apparition was unusual as it not only had Mary and Joseph, but also John the Apostle and the Lamb on the altar.
I have pondered this a lot lately. Today while I was at Mass I had a moment during the Liturgy of the Eucharist during the third elevation when the Priest says,
Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
I realized the only one in the Knock Apparition who could proclaim those words was John. And it became apparent to me how much the Lord wants to heal the Priesthood which has been so broken by sin and the ways of the world. John is precisely the Apostle whose intercession the Priests need. Healing the Priesthood will help to heal families, and healing families will help heal the world.
This prayer was written in response to that need for healing in the Priesthood and it is a prayer meant for our Priests.
O Most Holy Saint John the Apostle, graciousness of the Father, you are the shining example of Priestly holiness. Like Mary and Joseph you gave your yes to God without knowing His plan. You rested in the Bosom of the Father, in union with His will before you ever knew of the Resurrection. Beloved, you stood at the foot of the Cross where Jesus gave you His Mother, conferring upon you the Priestly authority over the Holy Family and forever binding it to all families. Even though your union with the will of God surpassed most others, you still deferred to the authority of Peter, whom God had chosen to lead you. Upon entering the tomb of the Resurrected Christ, you did not overstep your authority, but you were obedient to what God had designed by allowing Peter to enter first. Your consecrated hands continued to make Christ present to the world through the Holy Eucharist, bringing Jesus to all people, including the domestic church, so that they may become living sanctuaries of the Triune God. Your Priesthood was infused with Divine unity, as you are protector and keeper of the Eucharist, just as Mary and Joseph were to the Divine Child. It is through you O Most Holy Saint John that we see the revelation of God’s plan and all that the Priesthood is meant to be. We ask for your intercession for our Priests. Heal and strengthen the priesthood, the bridge between heaven and earth, ushering in God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Reveal to each and every Priest their essential role as head of the family of God’s people. May each and every Priest stand in their authority that is God given and has the power to heal the laity by proclaiming the words “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”. We ask this in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My friend Ashley Blackburn had this to say about the role of Saint John;
All authority comes from God who was made flesh in Jesus Christ. Before His passion, Jesus handed on this authority to the Apostles, who have handed it on to the next generation, and so on and so forth up until the present age of Catholic priests. This Apostolic authority of God was given for the priesthood, to be used to bring about the Kingdom of God on this earth through the power of the Grace of Christ. A holy priest is one who stands fully and confidently in this authority, thereby participating in the saving power of God. Having received the same Apostolic ordination that the first Apostles received from Jesus Christ Himself, priests who rise up and are grounded in this authority will have the power and the presence to heal families in so many ways. The priest who embraces his priesthood and who is unafraid to preach, to lead, to admonish, and to reconcile the laity back to God is a powerful witness. Just like the duty of a father of the domestic church, the priestly fatherhood is called to pour into the domestic churches, the families, that they are beloved sons and daughters of God who created them for a purpose and destiny, that they are safe under the wings of God and protected from the enemy, that they are loved to the core of their being and that they Lord is full of mercy and hope for all of mankind. A holy priest is a very powerful witness to the domestic church.
St John the Apostle was one of the 12 Apostles who were ordained by Jesus Christ Himself. But St John had a mission unlike the other apostles because he was uniquely bound to the Holy Family through the act of Jesus from the cross where he gave his mother Mary to John and John to his mother Mary. Although Mary was the only surviving member of the Holy Family, Jesus made sure that Mary was taken care of in both a physical and spiritual way. Widows who did not have sons to take care of them, were often left to beg in the streets. Mary needed the physical support of St. John to take her into his home and care for her. But Mary also needed the spiritual support of St John, through his Apostolic priesthood that was handed on to him by her Son, Jesus Christ. Because of St. John, Mary had intimate access to her Son, through the Eucharistic Sacrament. St John, who ordained to the priesthood of Christ, was also given authority over the Holy Family. So too the priests today are given that same authority over all of the domestic churches within their care. They are to be a source of Spiritual nourishment to the family. They are to reconcile men and women back to God. They are to enliven spirits and strengthen souls for the journey of life. They are to stand firm in their authority and bring peace and truth to the domestic churches.
May God make it so.