"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

St. John at the Latin Gate

May 6
St. John at the Latin Gate
Apostle and Evangelist
                                Greater Double  
St. John at the Latin Gate, May 6

Prof. Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

One day Salome presented her two sons, James and John, to Jesus, and with a mother’s ambition asked Him to grant them the highest places in his kingdom. In reply, the Savior spoke of the chalice which He Himself would have to drink, and foretold that these two disciples would also drink of it. The elder, James the Great, was the first to give his Master this proof of his love. John, the younger brother, offered his life in testimony of Jesus’ divinity.

But the martyrdom of the latter Apostle called for a place worthy of the event. Asia Minor, which his zeal had evangelized, was not a sufficiently glorious land for such a combat. Rome, whither Peter had transferred his Chair and where he died on his cross, and where Paul had bowed down his venerable head beneath the sword, Rome alone deserved the honor of seeing the beloved disciple march on to martyrdom, with that dignity and sweetness which are the characteristics of this veteran of the Apostolic College.

In the year 95 John appeared before the tribunal of pagan Rome. He was convicted of having propagated, in a vast province of the Empire, the worship of a Jew who had been crucified under Pontius Pilate. He was considered a superstitious and rebellious old man, and it was time to rid Asia of his presence. He was therefore sentenced to an ignominious and cruel death.

A huge cauldron of boiling oil is prepared in front of the Latin Gate. The sentence orders that the preacher of Christ be plunged into this bath. The hour has come for the second son of Salome to partake of his Master’s chalice. John’s heart leaps with joy. After cruelly scourging him, the executioners seize the old man, and throw him into the cauldron. But, lo! the boiling liquid has lost all its heat; the Apostle feels no scalding. On the contrary, when they take him out again he feels all the vigor of his youthful years restored to him.

The praetor’s cruelty is foiled, and John, a martyr in desire, is to be left to the Church for some few years longer. An imperial decree banishes him to the rugged Isle of Patmos, where God reveals to him the future of the Church even to the end of time.

 What lesson is there for us?

St. John was one of the greatest devotees of Our Lady. He was given as a son to her, and she was given as a mother to him. Probably he was already practicing the perfect form of devotion to Our Lady that St. Louis Grignion de Montfort wrote about, which is the holy slavery. At any rate, all his life he had the greatest devotion to her and an intimate union of soul with her. It is more than licit to imagine that when he was thrown into the cauldron of oil, his eyes and thoughts were turned toward her. He received a miracle – the recovery of his youthful strength - through her hands. Also, the grace of the visions he received in Patmos came through her.

In those revelations the future of the Church was unsealed to him. So, it is probable that the present days were shown to him. It is not impossible that he also saw the individuals whom Our Lady would call to fight for her glory in these sad days in which we live.

Our Lady was given to St. John as mother because he was the only Apostle who remained with her at the foot of the Cross. None of the other Apostles were there. The chaste disciple, the one whom Our Lord loved, was the disciple who remained faithful. Today, in the hour when so many have abandoned the foot of the Cross, it is natural that Our Lady be given again as mother to those who remain faithful. To be at the foot of the Cross means to be faithful to the Holy, Apostolic, Roman Catholic Church; to be orthodox; to be counter-revolutionary; to be a slave of Our Lady in a world where no one wants to talk about suffering, dedication, fidelity, and purity.

We have, therefore, these points in common with St. John. 


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