02: Our Dedication to the Disciple whom Jesus loved

Read by Br. David Vryhof

We hear God’s living word in all the Scriptures but the testimony of the disciple whom Jesus loved has special power for those whom God calls into this Society.  It gives us joy to know that Jesus drew this man John to himself in order to enjoy the blessings of close friendship.  We believe that through our religious vocation Jesus is drawing us also into the deepest intimacy with himself.  We find a profound significance for our own lives in what the fourth gospel tells us of the beloved disciple’s friendship with Jesus and his call to be a witness to the mystery of the incarnation.

This is the man whom Jesus wanted to have closest to his heart at the last supper.  The image of the trusted friend lying close to the breast of Jesus is an icon of the relationship we enjoy with the Son of God through prayer.  It is by being close to him that we are reunited with the Father, for Jesus is “God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart.”  And contemplating the closeness of the disciple to Jesus at the supper can deepen our awareness that the communion we have with Christ in the Eucharist is no mere abstract idea but a real and growing bond of personal love.

The beloved disciple did not hide from the suffering of Christ at Golgotha but took his stand there with Mary.  By being steadfast together at the cross, enduring all that others found unbearable, they remained in Jesus’ love.  If we abide in that perfect love shown on the cross we will receive the grace to face together all that we are tempted to run from in fear.  Christ’s gift of enduring love will be the heart of our life as a community, as it was in the new family which he called into being from the cross when he gave Mary and John to one another as mother and son.

Only love can understand what God gives and reveals through Jesus.  The beloved disciple understood that the pouring out of water and blood from Jesus’ side signified the giving of the Spirit.  Love will open our eyes to the Spirit’s power in the sacraments, in prayer, in action and service.  He went into the empty tomb, and believed at once in the mystery of the resurrection.  Love will make us men of faith who know God’s power to bring life out of death.  The beloved disciple recognized the Lord in the stranger by the shore.  Love will expand our ability to know him in all persons, in all things and in all places.

The beloved disciple lived on, faithful to Christ’s call to “remain until I come.”  The years spent exploring the depths of the revelation in which he had taken part bore fruit in the great gospel which bears the name of John.  We have taken this name to show that we too are Christ’s friends and witnesses.  Through us also many come to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and through believing have life in his name.


  1. Salvatore on March 15, 2009 at 15:20

    As Jesus lives and we live in Him so also does John the Beloved live in all of those who stand at the foot of the cross and suffer in our day, with the One who suffered and died for us. As He rose, so also shall those who magnify Him and as the beloved magnified Him, so shall we who Magnify Jesus and his beloved disciple, with the Most blessed Virgin, and all the saints, rise.

    This resurrection has already taken place in eternity, We have merely the need of faith and the evidence of our works, as a sign of our faith, to participate right now in our resurrection. To God time has no meaning. To us citizens of the Church, time also is without merit. Only the embrace of love, which is eternal has significance for us.

    Long Live Jesus Christ!

    May his kingdom be without end!

    Peace be with you!

    Fr. Sal.

  2. Polly Henninger on February 27, 2009 at 00:51

    What a blessing to hear Br. Paul’s clear voice, bringing his wisdom and experience over the years to this moment. Thank you for the image of the beloved disciple being closer to Jesus at the table, and that this reflected their close friendship. Hearing the chain of relationship between Jesus, the disciple, the brothers, we who worship with the brothers, brought me into direct connection to Jesus as a friend. In other words having that connection between Jesus and the beloved disciple translated into the relationship that the brothers of SSJE have and have made visible in having adopted this disciple as their patron, reaching out to those of us who are associated by the Fellowship or by listening to these reflections or joining in whatever way we choose, brought me into direct connection and awareness of being a friend of Jesus. I am grateful.

  3. Alex on February 26, 2009 at 10:56

    This is an outstanding tool. I am very excited to be journeying through lent with the rule, and am pleased to be able to pass along the link to my parish and the lenten study group I will be leading- on the exact same topic, the rule.

    I am however wondering if anyone else is noticing the Itunes versions are very quiet. With all my sound turned to full blast, I still only hear, the still small voice (ironic I know).

    Any thoughts?

    I am deeply greatfull to the work and ministry the society provides but specifically for offering this companion through our common lenten journey’s.

    Lenten blessing’s,


  4. Jeff Spahr on February 26, 2009 at 08:36

    This chapter is one of the anchoring chapters in the SSJE Rule. It is the identity of this Society, and must have been a great honor for Br. Paul to read.

    What a synchronicity it was for me to hear this first thing this morning after listening last evening to Br. Paul’s first sermon (given Feb 1) in eighteen months. While still reflecting on Br. Paul’s question, “What is the relationship between love and knowledge?” I was intensely moved to hear Paul read this chapter and have it all come together for me in one sentence: “love will expand our ability to know(-ledge) him (Jesus) in all persons, in all things and in all places.” Parentheses added by me for sake of emphasis and clarity.

    Thank you, Br. Paul. What a blessing it has been to hear from you. I hope I get a chance to meet you in person someday.

  5. William Winston on February 26, 2009 at 06:20

    Thanks for doing this. It really does make a difference to hear the Rule read by another person, and it’s a treat to hear the Rule read by old friends and brothers in Christ and in SSJE. I’m intrigued by the way the inflection of a phrase opens up new facets within the Rule for me. This is turning out to be the source of surprising blessings. Thanks.

Leave a Comment