Today is the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, born without the stain of Original Sin, thanks to the miraculous grace of his gestational Baptism at the moment of the Visitation. When John leaped in the womb of Elizabeth, at the approach of the Blessed Virgin carrying our Lord in her own womb, John was Baptized in his own amniotic fluid. Pretty cool.
That moment of his Baptism, the Visitation, is the Second Joyful Mystery of the Most Holy Rosary. The fruit of the mystery is Fraternal Charity. St. John loved our Lord, and so he loved the law. The two things go together like a horse and carriage; you can’t have one without the other, as the song goes. As the great Forerunner of Christ, John never suffered from mission creep, and his mission was to point to the truth: Point to our Lord, and point to the Law.
For this he would give his life.
The reason for his beheading was his intransigence on the commandments, which he loved dearly, because he loved our Lord. But I repeat myself. The subject matter in this case was the sanctity of marriage. Fraternal Charity is exactly what St. John was practicing when he rebuked Herod over his adulterous sham “marriage.” St. John laid down his life out of love of our Lord, out of love for His law, AND FOR THE SAKE OF HEROD’S SOUL. That’s Fraternal Charity, folks. We would do well to meditate on this, and pray to be given an ounce of his courage. We are going to need it.
St. John the Baptist, pray for us.
At that time, Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her. For John said to Herod: “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” Now Herodias laid snares for him: and was desirous to put him to death and could not. For Herod feared John, knowing him to be a just and holy man: and kept him, and when he heard him, did many things: and he heard him willingly. And when a convenient day was come, Herod made a supper for his birthday, for the princes, and tribunes, and chief men of Galilee. And when the daughter of the same Herodias had come in, and had
danced, and pleased Herod, and them that were at table with him, the king said to the damsel: “Ask of me what thou wilt, and I will give it thee.” And he swore to her: “Whatsoever thou shalt ask I will give thee, though it be the half of my kingdom.” Who when she was gone out, said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” But her mother said: “The head of John the Baptist.” And when she was come in immediately with haste to the king, she asked, saying: “I will that forthwith thou give me in a dish, the head of John the Baptist.” And the king was struck sad. Yet
because of his oath, and because of them that were with him at table, he would not displease her: But sending an executioner, he commanded that his head should be brought in a dish. And he beheaded him in the prison, and brought his head in a dish: and gave to the damsel, and the damsel gave it her mother. Which his disciples hearing came, and took his body, and laid it in a tomb. Mark 6:17-29
4 thoughts on “Happy birthday, St. John the Baptist: Fraternal Charity and upholding the sanctity of marriage to the point of death”
Our family’s bonfire in honor of the greatest man born of woman save Our Lord.
Yes, with Jesus being The Way, and The Truth, and The Life….when we stand up for Truth (which never changes), we stand up for Christ. St. John gave his life for the truth about Marriage. How many prelates –or even we lay people–are willing to pay a cost for the Truth much less our very lives? How many teachers will put their jobs on the line rather than teach perversion, racism, or anti-Americanism? How many doctors, nurses or pharmacists will put their careers on the line rather than be involved with abortions or contraceptives? How many doctors risk being “canceled” when they speak about the lies surrounding the “pandemic” ? These are just some of the risks many face nowadays if they stand up for the Truth. Oh, and divisions in the family or loss of friends can also be a price that might be paid. Where is your line in the sand?
Teaching against the heresy of “Americanism” would not necessarily be a bad thing.
American Catholic: the saints and sinners who built America’s most powerful church / Charles R. Morris.
ISBN 0-8129-2049-X….check it out.
Pages 90 – 91:
The Formation of the Americanist Party:
Ireland and Keane, two of the most junior bishops, therefore arrived in Rome to find themselves in the vortex of all the most controversial problems sirling around the American Chruch. They were greatly relieved to hear that Gibbons had just been elected a Cardinal and was rushing to join them. Keane was one of Gibbon’s suffragan bishops, so he and Gibbons knew each other well, but this was the first chance for Gibbons to spend time with Ireland. There was also a fouth critical player, Denis O’Connell, the newly appointed rector of the North American College and their host in Rome. O’Connell was a tradesman’s son and, like Keane and Ireland, an Irish native, but ten ears younger. A protege of Gibbons, O’Connell had fallen in love with the mystique of Vatican politics while a seminary student in Rome. Diplomatic errands for Gibbons had helped polish his courtier’s shills, and Gibbons had secured him the rectorship with an eye to his usefulness as a Roman agent. Bright and superficial, a lover of gossip and intrigue, O’Connell became a creature of the Roman salons, a special pet of the Pope, and, apparently, a libertine. Working constantly together during the winter and spring of 1887, the four men bondd closely and became the heart of the Americanist party. Ireland and Keane supplied the intellectual energy and rhetorical dash fo rthe Americanist agenda, O’Connell ran interference at the Vatican, while the cautious Gibbons lent his cardinal’s prestige and his growing reputation for judiciousness and political sensitivity.
Philadelphia’s priests were famous for their cohesiveness and elan, for a collective swagger that rivaled that of the Jesuits. The swagger came at a price, for Dougherty put them through a rigorous hazing. Seminarians were not allowed to smoke, even at home, and were not allowed to hold secular jobs in the summer. New priests ad to promise not to take a drind for at least a year after ordination. Parish assistants were not allowed to own or drive cars; being caught driving drew a six-months’ sentence to a retreat house. Priests had to wear clerical garb, including the square, three flanged biretta hat, whenever they were in public, and priests working in the chancery were to have frock coats and silk top hats, for formal events. (In fact, they bought a few generic sizes and kept them behind a door in case Dougherty ran a drill.”