This is a republished reflection on the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, which is also the Commemoration of the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost.
Today's great feast, coming as it does six months, one day prior to Christmas Day, is only one of three in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church that commemorates a physical birth (or Nativity). Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Nativity in Bethlehem in celebrated on Christmas Day, December 25. Our Lady Nativity is celebrated on September 8. And Our Lord's Precursor, the son of Saint Elizabeth, Saint John the Baptist, is privileged to have his own Nativity celebrated this very day. This is a tremendous feast day in the life of the Catholic Church.
Saint John the Baptist, the last of the Old Testament prophets, prepared the way for the coming of Our Lord prior to the assumption of His Public Ministry. Freed from Original Sin in the womb of his mother, Saint Elizabeth, who was Saint Anne's cousin, at the moment of Our Lady's Visitation, Saint John the Baptist preached fearlessly to convert sinners from their sinful ways and to prepare them to accept his Cousin, God Incarnate, as their Redeemer. He also knew that he had to decrease in stature in the world as Our Lord increased following His symbolic baptism in the Jordan River, during which, of course, God the Father sent a dove, symbolizing God the Holy Ghost, spoke to tell us in no uncertain terms, "This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3: 17), a proclamation that would God the Father repeated at Our Lord's Transfiguration (Matthew 17: 5).
Saint John the Baptist fearlessly proclaimed the truth. He lost his head for doing so. In like manner, of course, we must proclaim the truth, doing so out of fidelity to Our Lord as He has revealed Himself to His true Church, and in true Charity for the eternal good of others, recognizing at all times that we are but weak vessels of clay, full of faults and failings, who must make much reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary for our sins.
It is not easy to speak truth to those in power. Saint John the Baptist knew this.
Those in power, such as King Herod the Tetrarch, who was married illicitly to his brother's wife even though his brother was still very much alive, frequently believe themselves to be beyond criticism and that each of their decisions are binding upon the consciences of all others, a power that Our Lord has given exclusively to true popes, who can indeed bind our consciences.
Those in civil power, however, tend to think of themselves as demigods whose musings on this or that subject carry great significance. No matter who the President of the United States of America is, for example, it is invariably the case that some sort variation of one false, naturalistic presupposition after another is supposed to be accepted by the populace as the foundation for the common good domestically and for peace internationally. These "demigods" can't possibly be wrong, of course. They believe that their shallow words and empty and sometimes contradictory statements are received from on high (actually, their words and actions come from below!) and anyone who dares to dissent from them is suspect of being a "domestic terrorist."
Finally, yes, we arrived back from a two-week sojourn late Friday evening. Work is progressing on the next original article while I resume work on book projects and other matters. Thank you for your patience during the hiatus, which involved a whole lot of driving to and from my high school class's fiftieth anniversary reunion on Long Island on Friday, June 14, 2019, and Saturday, June 15, 2019.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.