Martyrdom of S. John the Baptist| S. Sabina| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Martyrdom of John the Baptist
The drunken oath of a king with a shallow sense of honor, a seductive dance and the hateful heart of a queen combined to bring about the martyrdom of John the Baptist. The greatest of prophets suffered the fate of so many Old Testament prophets before him: rejection and martyrdom. The “voice crying in the desert” did not hesitate to accuse the guilty, did not hesitate to speak the truth. But why? What possesses a man that he would give up his very life?
This great religious reformer was sent by God to prepare the people for the Messiah. His vocation was one of selfless giving. The only power that he claimed was the Spirit of Yahweh. “I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). Scripture tells us that many people followed John looking to him for hope, perhaps in anticipation of some great messianic power. John never allowed himself the false honor of receiving these people for his own glory. He knew his calling was one of preparation. When the time came, he led his disciples to Jesus: “The next day John was there again with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God.’ The two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus” (John 1:35-37). It is John the Baptist who has pointed the way to Christ. John’s life and death were a giving over of self for God and other people. His simple style of life was one of complete detachment from earthly possessions. His heart was centered on God and the call that he heard from the Spirit of God speaking to his heart. Confident of God’s grace, he had the courage to speak words of condemnation or repentance, of salvation.
Each of us has a calling to which we must listen. No one will ever repeat the mission of John, and yet all of us are called to that very mission. It is the role of the Christian to witness to Jesus. Whatever our position in this world, we are called to be disciples of Christ. By our words and deeds, others should realize that we live in the joy of knowing that Jesus is Lord. We do not have to depend upon our own limited resources, but can draw strength from the vastness of Christ’s saving grace.
“So they came to John and said to him, ‘Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him.’ John answered and said, ‘No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said [that] I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him. The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete. He must increase; I must decrease’” (John 3:26–30).
Also today in the Latin Calendar we commemorate S. Sabina, Martyr. A story about this commemoration can be found by Clicking Here.
August 29 St. Sabina, Martyr SHE was a rich widow lady of high birth, and lived in the province of Umbria in Italy. She had a servant called Seraphia, a native of Antioch in Syria, who was a zealous Christian, and served God in the holy state of virginity. The religious deportment of this virtuous maid-servant had such an influence over the mistress, that she was converted to the Christian faith; and so powerfully did the great truths of our holy religion operate on her soul, that her fervour and piety soon rendered her name illustrious among the great lights of the church, in the beginning of the second century. The persecution of Adrian beginning to rage, Beryllus, governor of the province, caused Sabina and Seraphia to be apprehended, and the latter to be beat to death with clubs. Sabina was discharged out of regard to her quality and friends; but her zeal procured her the crown of martyrdom the year following. She suffered at Rome, as the Bollandists have proved. She is honoured on the 29th of August, and again with St. Seraphia on the 3rd of September, because, on that day, as Ado informs us, a famous ancient church was dedicated to God in Rome, under the patronage of those two saints, in 430. It at present bears only the name of St. Sabina. In it was kept the first among the stations in Lent, till, in the last century, the public prayers of forty hours succeeded the devotion of the stations, both being equally the general assembly of the city in the same church to join in prayer. See the acts of SS. Sabina and Seraphia in Baluze, Miscell. t. 2.
We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God. –Thomas Merton
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
It is impossible for us to be in this mortal body and not to feel its weight, with the movement of the passions ...
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Four: 237-262
We continue to the fourth notebook that Saint Faustina filled with reflections and revelations from Jesus. As we enter into this notebook, allow yourself to seek God in the silence. This chapter begins with Saint Faustina revealing that she was experiencing a “dark night” (Diary #1235). She lacked the sensory feelings of closeness to God. By analogy, it would be as if you were in a dark room filled with treasures and someone told you that all the treasures of this room were yours. You could not see them but you trusted the person who spoke about all that was around you. Knowledge of these treasures filled your mind even though the darkness hid them from your eyes.
So it is with God. Saint Faustina loved our Lord with all her heart and with every beat of her heart. She knew His closeness and love. But it appears that she could not sense this through her human senses. This gift of darkness allowed her to enter into a relationship with God on a spiritual level far deeper.
Seek this depth of relationship with God as you read through this chapter. Move beyond a desire to feel close to God and allow yourself to become close to God. He wants to enter your heart on a much deeper level than you ever knew possible. Be open to the newness of a relationship shrouded in darkness and allow the Lord to communicate His Mercy to you on this new level of love.
Reflection 241: Remedying Your Particular Sins
How do you overcome your sins? Every sin is different and requires specific prayer and sacrifice so as to detach from them. Three common sins are: those of the flesh, those of anger and those of pride. Each one of these sins can be overcome but may require special attention. If you struggle with sins of the flesh, try to fast. Give up that which is delightful to you on a physical level by fasting from various kinds of food or drink. For sins of anger, try to do some good deed or speak some kind word to the person with whom you are angry. Pray for them and speak the words of Jesus on the Cross, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” And for sins of pride, try to bow down prostrate before our Lord in prayerful humility, emptying yourself before Him. Seek to offer these specific remedies for the sins you struggle with and the Mercy of God will be poured down in abundance (See Diary #1248).
What are the specific sins you struggle with? Make sure that you regularly do a thorough examination of conscience, focusing on each one of the Ten Commandments in detail or on the seven capital sins. Once you have identified the main sins you struggle with, especially those that are habitual, seek a holy remedy for them. Penance for sins is like medicine. You need the right medication for each illness. Be open to the ways that God reveals to you these “medicines” for your soul and take them without hesitation. Each penance you do will open up the door of Mercy in a new and profound way in your life.
Lord, I know that I am sick on account of my many sins. I am weak and in need of healing. Help me to see my sins and to face them with Your Mercy. Give me the means of overcoming them so that I may draw closer to You. I love You Lord, free me from all that keeps me from You. Jesus, I trust in You.