Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Today we commemorate the falling asleep of the youngest of the 12 apostles, John the Theologian. He was the brother of James, son of Zebedee, the fisherman, and Salome who was a relative of St. Joseph. St. John was noted for his purity, his contemplative nature, his undying love for Christ manifest in his presence at the Lord’s crucifixion and in his reception of the Blessed Mother into his own care after Jesus’ death. It is said that after the Dormition of Our Lady, John departed for Ephesus where he preached the Gospel and performed many miracles. Persecutions of Christians under the emperor Nero began at this time, and it didn’t take long before the apostle was arrested and sentenced to martyrdom. The account of his life from the Prologue of Ohrid tells us however, that God had further earthly plans for His friend. When poison was given to St. John, it took no effect. He was then to be boiled in oil, but climbed out of the cauldron unharmed! Overwhelmed, the emperor sentenced the saint to exile, on an island called Patmos, where he lived for many years preaching the Gospel to it’s pagan inhabitants and working many miracles. One day, St. John climbed to a high mountain with his friend Prochorus and underwent a three day fast. During this prayerful time, he told Prochorus to write down whatever he told him. Thus, in the year 67, the book of Revelation was written. This book contains prophecies which are so mystical and fantastic in nature that it is considered very difficult for the average human mind to comprehend. Soon, John was granted his freedom and returned to Ephesus where, in the year 95, he wrote his own Gospel account of his life with Christ, and three of the epistles found in our Holy Scriptures. After reaching over 100 years old, St. John knew that his time on earth was ending. He instructed his followers to dig a cross-shaped hole into which he climbed. He kissed them goodbye and instructed them to fill in the grave. Later, when the grave was opened, only a fine dust remained, which proved to miraculously heal the sick. Each year on May 8, this miraculous dust would reappear. For this reason, there is a feast of the Apostle, St. John on May 8 as well.
Because of the lofty heights to which this saint was inspired while he was in prayer, his symbol is the eagle. Although the eagle flies higher in the heavens and closer to God than any other bird, it sees and understands what is on the ground even more clearly.
At snack time today, lets give our little saints a treat to remind them of St. John.
For each Eagle Snack, you will need a chocolate sandwich cookie, a marshmallow, two large chocolate chips and a whole cashew. You will also need some melted white chocolate chips and a bowl of shredded coconut.
Melt the white chocolate and roll the marshmallow in it, to coat. Immediately roll it in the shredded coconut, and place it on the cookie as a base.
Last, place on the eagle's cashew beak and chocolate chip eyes and let alone to set while you tell the children the story of St. John.
Do not fear Little Saints! After story time comes snack time!