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