“Jesus and the Beloved Disciple” by John Giuliani, 1996

Today’s Bible reading

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.  And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love (Jesus). – John 15:9

More thoughts for meditation

Today is the feast day of John the Apostle and Evangelist, who recorded the words of Jesus, quoted above. He called himself “the beloved disciple.” I doubt that means he was more beloved than others, but it certainly means he knew he was loved!

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love sent to me… Three French Hens.

Today is also the third day of Christmas. Going with our spiritualization of the kids Christmas song, the singer’s “true love” (that would be Jesus, in this case) sent His true love (John, Paul and the rest of us disciples/friends) three “virtues”that is, three inner motivations that dispose one to act rightly. In the Catholic catechism, faith, hope and love are the “theological” virtues. The famous Thomas Aquinas  explained that these three virtues are called theological “because they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone, as also, finally, because we come to know of them only by Divine revelation in the Sacred Scriptures”

Actual French hens, here, are probably just chickens, although French hens were bred for show in the 1800’s. In the 1600’s, however, a meal of three nice chickens would be what rich people were eating. Some interpretations of the song say the “secret” meaning has a lot to do with expensive gifts brought by the wise men: gold, frankincense and myrrh. In that case you can sing this verse as a praise song, seeing Jesus telling the world how his true love made a feast for him in the cold world, and offered her best to do it.

Suggestions for action

Pray: As the Father loves you, you love me. Thank you.

Regardless of secret meanings, the clear message is all about love: Jesus and you are one another’s beloved and you are exchanging valuable gifts. It would be terrible to keep Christmas with a discussion of the value of chickens or an assessment of one’s virtue, wouldn’t it?!

Be the beloved who got the “chickens” on whatever level you want to interpret that. Supply your own secret meaning, if you like.

Be the lover who gives the gifts. We often feel so needy, we forget our commitment to love. Why don’t you take a step out of your usual reactions to others or your usual routine and do something that gives someone some love in a way they can understand it. Don’t call attention to the fact you are doing this, just be it. Later, write in your journal about how that felt or how it didn’t.