These three disciples give us a better idea of the real nature of love. John Lennon was right when he sang, “All you need is love.” Through love we can be gracious, harmonious and free.
John: The name John means ‘the grace of the Lord’ and he represents love (he was the one Jesus loved) and grace. This love is agape, one of four Greek words for love. This love is the highest, it loves everyone equally; it does not favour family over friends and acquaintances nor does it favour one’s own culture over another. This is an objective love which can withstand offence. Grace is that capacity of our soul for doing what is right, what is good, out of our inner self, not through externally imposed rules and regulations. Grace says, “How can I be so that you can be free.”
Thaddaeus: Thaddaeus represents elimination, letting go of things so that we can keep moving forward. The name Thaddaeus means ‘of the heart’, big-hearted, warm-hearted. Thaddaeus is St Jude and was a brother of St James the Less, and a relative of Jesus. It is the heart can eliminate things that mesmerise the mind. Thaddaeus within us works continuously to restore harmony by eliminating that which disrupts. A large part of this work is tied up with forgiveness.
Matthew: Matthew represents will within us – human intentions and actions. Matthew collected taxes. He works in the depths of the community to sustain the body, the infrastructure, of society. He was called away from that to serve in the innermost circle so that human will could become freewill. The other thing about will is that it reveals ourselves to us. Our acts of will, when, for example, we dig the garden or rearrange the furniture, give us a glimpse of ourselves, our ability and our place in the world. This is the start of loving ourselves more completely.