“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3)
For many days we have been meditating on the Last Supper farewell discourse of Jesus to his disciples. Today’s Gospel (John 17:1-11a) has Jesus praying for each of us, and summing up the purpose of his incarnation: to know God so that we know the fullness of life that will never be taken away from us. It is eternal from the moment of our baptism in this earthly life, actualized in our adult encounter with Jesus and will be fulfilled for all eternity.
To “know” in the Scriptures does not refer to intellectual knowledge, but to an intimate relationship of communion. It does not happen automatically, but is a never-ending process of ongoing formation in communion. The spirit of St Eugene is well portrayed in this article from our Oblate Rule, which applies to everyone:
“Formation is a process which aims at the integral growth of a person and lasts a lifetime. It enables us to accept ourselves as we are and develop into the persons we are called to be. Formation involves us in an ever-renewed conversion to the Gospel and a readiness to learn and to change in response to new demands.” (C 47)
The pandemic has challenged us this year to refocus our understanding and expression of our relationship with God and the eternal life that we already have – but it involves a commitment to ever-renewed daily conversion. It is a process where we need community support – which is why the Church exists – and the Mazenodian Family is one of its expressions.