And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Last fall I went on pilgrimage with some young adults from Chicago to Philadelphia. There we witnessed Pope Francis’ historic visit. What struck me so forcibly was not so much the pope’s consoling words, but the gathering of the people themselves on the city streets. Civility ruled. Kindness reigned. The police were extraordinarily friendly. Shopkeepers smiled, opened their doors, and happily gave away free stuff. People were patient, for the most part, willing to wait long hours to pass through security screening. It was as if an angel had given us a vision of “the Holy City.” Pope Francis was with us in the City of Brotherly love for just three days. I came away from that gathering wondering what it would be like if we imagined to be true what we believe to be true: the Lamb who was slain and reborn remains with us throughout eternity.
—J. Michael Sparough, SJ is a retreat master, spiritual director, playwright and poet at the Bellarmine Jesuit Retreat House, Barrington, IL.
Lamb of God, shine on us!
Lift us from the sorrows of today
To the possibilities of tomorrow.
Restore our hope for our cities.
The pities of the present can pass.
Bless us with vision for our future.
What is and has been
What we have to become.
Brighten our minds.
Enlighten our nations.
Shine your graces
Hidden in the faces
Of a people
You call Your own.
– J. Michael Sparough, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!