Friday, August 29, 2014

The Passion of St. John the Baptist

In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice, rescue me, free me;
incline your ear to me and save me.
~Psalm 71(70):1-2

The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God's obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. Only when we act in this manner does another -- and doubtless the greatest -- saying of the Baptist reveal its full significance: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3.30). We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves.  ~Pope Benedict XVI

O God,
who willed that Saint John the Baptist
should go ahead of your Son
both in his birth and in his death,
grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice,
we, too, may fight hard
for the confession of what you teach.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
~Collect for the Mass for the Passion of St. John the Baptist

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