Cloisters of Saint John Lateran, Rome. Source:

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Within The Octave Of Saint John The Baptist.

Text from The Saint Andrew Daily Missal,
unless otherwise stated.

Saint John the Baptist Preaching.
Artist: Mattia Preti (1613–1699).
Date: Circa 1665.
Credit line: Museum purchase, Roscoe and Margaret Oakes Income Fund
Source/Photographer: The AMICA Library.
Author: Mattia Preti (1613–1699).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Church, honouring The Saints in proportion to the part they played in The Mystery of The Incarnation of The Word, gives to Saint John the Baptist a special place. [The Rubrics, which accompany the Bull Divino Afflatu of Pope Saint Pius X, establish the following order among the Feasts: "The Feasts of The Lord, of The Blessed Virgin Mary, of The Angels, of Saint John the Baptist, of Saint Joseph, of The Holy Apostles".]

Each day in The Mass, as well as at the Confiteor, at the Suscipe and at the Nobis quoque peccatoribus, the name of Saint John the Baptist precedes that of The Apostles. It is the same in The Litany of The Saints. His Feast immediately precedes that of The Apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul. By ending the Mission of The Prophets and commencing that of The Apostles, he is the link between The Old Testament and The New Testament.

Let us, also, give to Saint John the Baptist the place of honour which is due to him in our Veneration of The Saints. The Veneration must, indeed, be hierarchically ordered, so that we may never forget that Jesus is The Principal Author of our Redemption, and that The Saints are more or less great, as they are more or less united to Him as secondary instruments.

John the Baptist.
Artist: Bartolomeo Veneto (1470–1531).
Date: 16th-Century.
Author: Bartolomeo Veneto (1470–1531).
(Wikimedia Commons)

The Feast of The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist falls in the Season when the Cycle shows us The Church, which, as this Saint foretold, was born in the Baptism of The Holy Ghost and of Fire at Pentecost, and goes on continually developing herself. It is, indeed, to The Holy Precursor that she owes it to have known Jesus, The Spouse that makes her the fruitful mother of many Souls.

As with the Jews, a friend was the intermediary between the bride and the spouse and prepared the wedding-feast, Saint John the Baptist is called in the Gospel the "friend of The Spouse". It is he whom God has chosen to prepare for The Lord, by his Preaching and Baptism of Penance, a perfect people. And, after having adorned the bride, he presents The Spouse to her. "John was the man sent as a witness, so that, through him, all should believe in Jesus" [Last Gospel].

English: The Holy Children with a Shell
(Infant Christ Offering a Drink of Water to Saint John).
Spanish: Los Niños de la concha.
Artist: Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682).
Date: Circa 1670.
Current location: 
Prado Museum, Madrid, Spain.
(Wikimedia Commons)

Jesus comes to him in the waters of The Jordan and, at this Divine Contact, the water acquired the Virtue which, in Baptism, causes our Souls to be born to Supernatural Life. As Saint John the Baptist baptises Christ in The Jordan, he hears The Voice of The Father proclaiming that Jesus is His Well-Beloved Son. He sees The Holy Ghost hovering over Him, in the form of a Dove, and he reveals that Jesus is "The Lamb of God".

Let us remember that, after having baptised The Master, the one who is called John the Baptiser has also presided over our own Christening, for all the Baptistries (particularly that of Saint John Lateran, in Rome) are Dedicated to him, and his image is to be used for the adornment of Baptismal Fonts. Having thus been brought by him to Jesus, let us also through Saint John the Baptist approach The Eucharist, reciting the words of the Agnus Dei, by which he indicated The Saviour.

Mass: As on The Feast-Day.

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