Memorial of Saint Philip Neri

If we choose the Easter season readings, today is the first of three Gospel readings that cover John 17, Jesus’ priestly prayer.  It is prayed before the Apostles in the Upper Room.  It is sometimes called the “prayer of the hour of Jesus” because his hour has now come.  For us, it is a privileged entry into communication between the Father and the Son.  It is a window into the Trinity.  In witnessing the love between the Father and the Son, we see the Holy Spirit.  This entire chapter is a great gift. 

The whole prayer is full of beautiful sayings, any one of which could prompt a significant amount of time in mediation.  Almost at the very beginning, there is this:

Now this is eternal life,

that they should know you, the only true God,

and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”

What does it mean for us to know the Father?  Or to know the Son?  It is not just to know about them.  It does not mean that we become theology experts.  It does not mean that we can quote Church Fathers with ease.  Or even Scripture.  It means to know the Father and the Son by experiencing them.  And we know that we come to know the Father because we know the Son. 

The very next part is this:

“I glorified you on earth

by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.”

Jesus glorified the Father by completing the mission.  He glorified the Father by doing the Father’s will.  And Jesus himself is glorified in this too.  The will of the Father is not different from the will of the Son.  The union of the Father and Son also means that we do not speak of separate divine wills.  Rather, we speak of one divine will.  The Son does not subvert his will to the Father.  The will of the Son is not different from the will of the Father.

In our own prayer life, as we come to know the Son (and thus to know the Father) through experience, our will becomes more aligned with the will of God.  As we become one with God, we want what God wants.  We do not toss aside our wants.  Rather, we allow God’s grace to transform our will to align with God’s will. 

In our current state, do we find ourselves with two lists – one for what we want and another for what we know God wants?  Are we willing to want only what God wants?