Solemnity of the Nativity of S. John the Baptist| Daily Meditation| Daily Quote by S. Padre Pio| Divine Mercy Reflection
Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life.
His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic.
The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus.
Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.
John challenges us Christians to the fundamental attitude of Christianity—total dependence on the Father, in Christ. Except for the Mother of God, no one had a higher function in the unfolding of salvation. Yet the least in the kingdom, Jesus said, is greater than he, for the pure gift that the Father gives. The attractiveness as well as the austerity of John, his fierce courage in denouncing evil—all stem from his fundamental and total placing of his life within the will of God.
"And this is not something which was only true once, long ago in the past. It is always true, because the repentance which he preached always remains the way into the kingdom which he announced. He is not a figure that we can forget now that Jesus, the true light, has appeared. John is always relevant because he calls for a preparation which all men need to make. Hence every year there are four weeks in the life of the Church in which it listens to the voice of the Baptist. These are the weeks of Advent" (A New Catechism).
It took courage to be Christ. He lived and spoke the truth, even when it was not popular, even when it meant humilitation and rejection. We are called upon to do the same thing.
Quote by S. Padre Pio:
The most useful, fruitful, and also the most acceptable way to the Lord is precisely that: To ask Jesus to make us holy is neither presumption nor audacity, because it is the same as desiring to love Him greatly.
Divine Mercy Reflection
Reflections on Notebook Two: 112-188
We now enter into Notebook Two of the six notebooks that make up the Diary of Saint Faustina. The reason for having more than one notebook is simply that when one notebook was filled by Saint Faustina she began with a new one. Therefore, there is nothing particularly different from one notebook to the other. However, for the purpose of this current book of daily reflections, each reflection will begin to be lengthened, starting here with Notebook Two, so as to help you, the reader, enter more deeply into the beautiful mysteries of faith and our shared spiritual life that have been revealed in these writings of Saint Faustina.
You are invited once again to take one reflection each day and to ponder it throughout the day. Try to pray the prayer for each reflection each morning, noon and evening. Allow each mystery reflected upon to become a source of wisdom and understanding for you.
Reflection 175: Love is Found in the Details of Life
How nice it is when you have a friend that you trust with every detail of your life. We long to know others and we long to be known by others. When you find someone in whom you can confide even the smallest struggle or express the smallest joy, you have found a true friend. The Lord desires to be your closest friend. You must work to foster a “detailed” relationship with Him. He knows all things and knows you better than you know yourself. But this should not prevent you from pouring your heart out to Him. You must express to Him even the slightest concerns you carry and rejoice with Him over the smallest of joys. Speaking to God about the details of life brings joy to His Heart (See Diary #921).
When you speak to God, are you honest? Do you trust Him? Do you open every part of your life and face it in His presence? The Lord knows all but He wants to hear it from you in prayer. Speak to Him today. Reflect upon how often you go to Him with the smallest concern or the slightest joy. Give joy to Him today as you speak to Him as your closest friend and confidant in life.
Lord, You know all things and You know me through and through. As I recognize this fact, help me to always be fully honest with You. Help my prayer to always reflect the truth of my heart. And as I speak to You about the details of my life, I allow You to enter in, to help, to heal and to rejoice in all that You reveal. Jesus, I trust in You.