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MaryBeth Eberhard considers what St. John the Evangelist can teach us about being beloved by God.

We all have someone in our life whom we call beloved, whether that person holds a special place deep in the memories of our heart or if we have the blessing of waking to that person’s vision every morning. To be beloved is to be known intimately, accepted, cherished, and desired. For me, my mind goes immediately to my husband and my family. In my desire to model the Father’s love for them, I love them by seeking them out, loving them unconditionally, and sacrificing for them in ways seen and unseen. I seek to be in constant communion with each one of them from the morning smile to the evening prayer. That communion with my “beloveds” is the bedrock of our relationship.

On December 27, we celebrate the feast of Saint John, the Evangelist*. We know John, son of Zebedee and Salome, and brother to James the apostle, through tradition, as the beloved apostle. He was with Jesus at the wedding of Cana, journeyed with Him to Capernaum, was present at the Transfiguration of Jesus, placed his head upon the breast of Jesus at the Last Supper, and sat with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane. Upon the cross, it was St. John whom Jesus asked to care for His mother. It was John who ran ahead of Peter to the tomb, John who recognized Jesus on the water after the resurrection. On my walk with St John, I have pondered how it is that he and the Lord shared such intimate moments. Why was it that John was always there? How did he know?

I often use my family dynamic as a backdrop to my prayer life. It helps me weave the two together more intricately as I believe they should be. For me to call my husband or my children beloved, our connection needs to be intentional and intimate. This is not your surface level “How was your day” conversation, but “How is your heart?” Days come and go but your heart ... that is your morality, your compass, your anchor. Fertile soil lies within the heart, where the skin withers away daily.

John, the evangelist, knew our Lord intimately. This knowing began with an encounter with John the Baptist and then a life spent serving beside the Messiah. John saw Jesus. Think about that. As we see our own beloveds, we see the shadows and light play across their faces. We see their struggles and their joys. We participate in them. We feel them. This in how close John, the beloved apostle, was to our Lord. It gives me such pause to place myself in that moment.

After the Ascension of Jesus, St John went on to spread the gospel of Jesus, caring for Mary until her Assumption. He was beaten, tortured, jailed, and exiled for his labors. The communion Saint John kept with Jesus through prayer bore the fruit of his Gospel and the book of Revelation, where he describes visions of Christ’s second coming. One can easily understand the trust the Lord had in sharing these sacred visions with his beloved disciple, knowing that they would be shared with His people in ways desired and holy.


I seek to live a life that is in constant communion with Jesus, not only so that I am known but so that He is known to me. #catholicmom

As a disciple of Jesus, I know I am beloved to Him as there are immeasurable moments in my life where I have felt His shelter, His comfort, His intimate embrace that only comes from being known and cherished. I seek to live a life that is in constant communion with Jesus, not only so that I am known but so that He is known to me. In the same way I pause at night and pray over the sleeping body of one of my children or gaze in holy wonder upon my husband in the morning sunlight, the Lord deserves a hundred fold of that adoration and wonder.

May we, along our walk with St John, cherish the relationship we have been given as daughters and sons of the Lord and seek to draw more closely into that beloved communion with Him, so that we may radiate a living gospel to others.

St. John the Evangelist’s feast day is December 27. He is the patron saint of booksellers, art dealers, and printers.

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* Note: As December 27 falls on a Sunday this year, the Church celebrates it as the Feast of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

Copyright 2020 MaryBeth Eberhard
Image: Andreas F. Borchert (2009), Wikimedia Commons, CC-SA 3.0/de