I am one of the many, many people around the world who use the excellent publication Magnificat for my Morning Prayer and also for my pauses during the week to become recollected, especially at noon or 3pm, and sometimes in the evening. (www.magnificat.com/). And it is wonderful that during these weeks, as our study of John’s gospel begins, the first chapter of this gospel has been our daily food in the liturgy! I didn’t plan this, believe it or not!
I do appreciate the discipline, however, of planning for a discussion of this book on a monthly basis this winter and spring and perhaps beyond into summer, because it prompts me to make this most amazing and powerful gospel a priority during a time in my life in which I could easily put off such a regular discipline. I have two grandchildren in my sixties–a late and precious gift–who are under two years old, for example, and they live in the greater Seattle area. So it would be easy to say to the Lord, “Not quite yet, Lord, because I have to make some trips to Babies R Us this week! I don’t think I’ll be able to focus well on your Word, at the same time….” And my husband is semi-retired, so has planned two trips to sunny places this winter, so,”I just don’t think I can carve out anymore time to hop on ferries, Jesus!”
I must say that Father Robert Barron’s little meditation last month on Mother Mary’s visitation to her pregnant cousin Elizabeth was inspiring, in light of this. He said, in effect, that although Mary had plenty of reason to stay around home and ponder this incredible stuff that was happening in her life, she actually “hastened” to make the long trek to Elizabeth’s home, staying there three months or more to meet her cousin’s needs. Because she was so very ready to do what love asked of her, she simply didn’t put it off, even though she would have had a perfectly good reason to do so.
Wow. Here I am, with more than one foot in senior citizenship, and I must admit I ask for Mary’s prayers a great deal, that I might have the grace to clearly perceive and then quickly respond to what love asks of me. Sometimes my life is a juggling act, one which Mother Mary perhaps smiles at when she gets a glimpse of it; but her prayers are powerful and I find that my priorities are easier to see than they used to be.
I know that those of you who have decided, or who will decide as the weeks go by, to do this disciplined reading of the Gospel of John will be richly blessed by that decision. Whether our group is large or tiny, I look forward to first Wednesdays. JC