The symbol of the eagle for St John goes back at least as far as St Jerome, who described St John as ‘having taken up eagle’s wings and hastening toward higher matters, discusses the Word of God’.

The eagle is one of the four living creatures of the Apocalypse: ‘And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all round and within, and day and night they never cease to sing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”’ Early on, these came to be applied to the four Evangelists. St John is supreme, for his evocative writing on the Word of God, the Word made flesh, who has come to dwell amongst us.

May St John pray for us, and by his prayers enable us to grasp more fully and more deeply the message of the Incarnation. May God bless you this day.