…I pray for them…the ones you have given me, and everything of mine is yours…
Jesus prays for his apostles, disciples and all of us really! He is getting ready to leave, remembering that he has done what his father has asked – passed on the best of what he has – his relationship with his Father, his prayer life, his preparing of others to continue the journey on their own. In some ways, setting them free – commissioning them to continue to build the kingdom, yet somehow trusting that he has done his ‘job’ – loved them into adulthood and trusted that God will continue to accompany them on their life journey.
Those of us who are parents, or mentors, or teachers really, of any kind, can relate to Jesus in this passage. Isn’t that what we do – prepare those given to us to grow – grow in knowledge, wisdom, grace and love. We prepare them to set them free! We prepare them to face challenges, joys, obstacles and opportunities. We prepare them to trust that they have all that they need to continue the journey. We prepare them to love – because they have first been loved – by us, by God.
Like Jesus, we too take God with us. God’s love empowers us to pass along what we know, to pass along our learned wisdom, to model right relationship and accountability. Love is what enables us to let go and let God – to trust that God will have their back. We too pray for those we love and care about – Love assures us that our relationship with them will continue, albeit different, even when we set them free. We too pray that God will continue what we have begun and that our sons, daughters, mentees and students will continue to be embraced and loved by God, and that they too will pass on the best that they have.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.