Love Set Free: Meditations on the Passion According to St. John
by Martin L. Smith, SSJE (1998)
This is a short and reverent book, slightly larger than pocket size, approximately 70 pages. If the inside back cover didn’t tell you the author was Episcopalian, you might never guess.
The quote inside the front cover, from Chapter Three, “Intimacy”, will work here:
Through this simple pledging of Mary to the beloved disciple and of him to Mary at the foot of the cross, the evangelist takes the new commandment to love one another and places it directly in the vortex of death and self-offering. By doing so John squeezes every remaining drop of sentimentality out of our understanding of love. Love, love–the word is always ringing in our ears, but when is it not mixed up with something else? Love and the desire to possess, love and the need to control, love and the need to be needed, love and the lust to absorb, love and condescension, love and narcissism. In the Christian mystery love itself must be crucified, must die to be reborn as the grace of communion, as love set free. In a mysterious sign the evangelist points to the new home of the beloved disciple as the place where this has happened, the household from which the church’s authentic identity has its origin.
– pp. 38-39