Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Nativity of St John Baptist

"In addition to the most holy Nativity of the Lord, we find celebrated in the Gospel the birth of only one other, namely, that of blessed John Baptist.  As for all others among God's holy and chosen ones, we know that for their feast is observed the day whereon, with their work finished, and the world conquered and finally trampled down, they were born from this into a better life, even into everlasting blessedness.  Thus in others is honoured the day on which their merits were completed, that is, the last day of their dying life.  But in John is honoured the first day, for in him the very beginning is found hallowed.  And the reason that the Nativity of John is so much made of in Scripture is, without doubt, that the Lord wished John to be an attestation to his own first coming; for if Christ had come too suddenly and unexpectedly, men might not have recognized him.  And on this wise John was a figure of the Old Testament, and shewed in his own person a typical embodiment of the Law; for he heralded beforehand the coming of the Saviour, even as the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us to the grace of Christ.

But as touching this, that he prophesied while yet in the hidden depths of his mother's womb, and while himself lightless bore testimony to the truth, we are to understand it as a figure how that while himself wrapped round with the veil and carnal ordinances of the letter, he by the spirit preached unto the world a Redeemer, and testified that Jesus is our Lord even while for himself, working under the law, the birth of the new dispensation was still in the womb of the future, and not come to day.  The Jews were estranged from the womb, that is from the Law, that womb heavy with the Christ that was to be; they went astray from the belly, speaking lies, and therefore John came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

But as for this, that when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, this is the Law sending to the Gospel.  For John here was a figure of the Law, imprisoned in ignorance, lying in the dark, and in a hidden place, and he was fettered through Jewish misunderstanding within the bonds of the letter.  But of him was it said, as is written in the Blessed Evangelist, He was a burning and a shining light, that is to say, that, when the whole world was wrapt in the night of ignorance, this Saint was kindled by the fire of the Holy Ghost, to shew before men the light of salvation, and at the hour of the thickest darkness of sin, appeared like a bright morning star to herald the rising of that sun so right gloriously radiant, the Son of righteousness, Christ our Lord.  And this is why John said of himself: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness."

-- From a Sermon by St Augustine 

** Painting by Fra Bartolomeo

1 comment:

Sor.Cecilia Codina Masachs said...

No le añado nada a su comentario, me parece idóneo. Sólo aporatar algo muy personal:
Juan El Bautista es ese hombre que como muchos en el silencio preparan el camino para que Dios entre en sus vidas. Los misioneros son otros Juanes Bautistas y cuantos se dedican a la predicación, con Juan muchas veces se hallan solos en el desierto predicando a sordos, pero a tiempo y a destiempo, para Dios no hay más tiempo que la GRACIA.
Con ternura.