“The Father loves the Son and has entrusted everything to him. Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life.” (John 3: 35-36)
“The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light” prophesied Isaiah (9:2) – a prophecy fulfilled with Jesus: “through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1: 4-5)
It is dark in our world, and the television and mass-media constantly highlight the darkness. In today’s Gospel (John 3:13-36), we are invited to see that there is an eternal Light always burning in us.
Whatever happens today, let us be strengthened by God’s promise that we have eternal life in us today because we believe and love the One who has been sent to be our Light.
Eugene de Mazenod learnt to experience this relationship and prayed to be faithful. He refers to it during a time of silent retreat in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood. Let us pray with him:
that the Holy Spirit… may come to rest on me in all its fullness, filling everything within me with the love of Jesus Christ my Saviour, in such a way that I live and breathe no longer but in him, consume myself in his love, serving him and spreading the news of how loveable he is and how foolish people are to seek elsewhere their hearts’ resting place when they can never find it but in him alone.
Jesus, good master, turn a look of compassion on your poor servant. It seems to me that I love you but I am afraid of deceiving myself; it seems to me that if you were to question me as you once questioned the Prince of the Apostles … it seems to me I would answer as did he: yes, Lord, I love you.
But it would not need your putting the question for a third time to make me feel unsure of the sincerity of that love I had declared for you, for, I repeat, I am afraid of deceiving myself and while I believe I love you, you would see, you who are the uncreated Light, that illuminates the darkest corners of my heart, and reads in its most secret places, and plumbs the depths of hearts and loins, you would see that in fact I do not love you at all.
My Lord, my Father, my love, bring me to love you; this only do I ask, for I know full well that that is everything. Give me your love.
Prayer of Eugene at start of his priestly ordination retreat, December 1811 EO XIV n 95