From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Thu Jun 23 23:41:15 2022
Humility of John the Baptist
"John the Baptist was regarded by some people as the Messiah but he told them: "I am not the one whom you think." He refused to accept the error of someone in order to derive glory from it.
John admitted what he was, declared what he was not, and humbled himself. He clearly recognized where his salvation came from, for he understood that he was the lamp, and he feared being extinguished by pride."
--St. Augustine--Sermon 293, 4
Prayer: Thanks and praise to you, my God, who sound in my ears and who illuminate my heart. Keep me away from every temptation.
--St. Augustine--Confessions 10, 31
June 24th - St. John the Baptist
It would be interesting to analyze the aspects of St. John the
Baptist’s life that characterize him as a perfect Apostle of the Last
Times, as described by St. Louis Grignion de Monfort. Not because his
times were the last times, but because they were the last times of
St. John the Baptist was the person sent by God to lay straight the
way of the Lord, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, to act in
the last times before the Messiah. The Apostle of the Last Times also
must prepare for the coming of Our Lord; he will also have to act in
the last times before the second coming of the Messiah. There is a
parallel between these two men, just as there is a parallel between
the first and the second coming of the Messiah.
The parallel between the time of Christ and the last times is very
clear in the Gospel when Our Lord spoke about the fall of the Temple
of Jerusalem from two different perspectives. First He spoke about the
material destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, a prophecy that was
fulfilled historically by Titus in the year 70. He also spoke of the destruction of the Temple from a symbolic perspective, referring to
the end of world, of which the Temple was a symbol.
There are two destructions of the Temple, two comings of Our Lord, two
men sent by God to prepare the way of the Lord. The first was St. John
the Baptist and the last will be Elijah, the Prophet. These two men
are the models, the paradigms, the prototypes of the Apostles of the
In one part of the Fiery Prayer by St. Louis Grignion de Monfort, he
describes the Apostles of the Last Times, pointing to those men who
will live in a tragic situation: “Ah, let me cry out everywhere: Fire!
Fire! Fire! Help! Help! Help! Fire even within the sanctuary!”
The same kind of warning was given by St. John the Baptist, a prophet
who pictured the moral situation of his time as extremely bad. He did
not fear to tell the truth to the Scribes and Pharisees. He was not
afraid to censure the Jewish people for the moral decadence into which
they had fallen. He did not tremble to spell out to Herod the evil he
had done – and this would be the cause of his death.
St. John the Baptist was a man who accomplished his duty of telling
the truth about the situation in which he lived, the entire truth,
completely, fearlessly, even to his death.
Also worth of note is the polemic character of the mission. The
Apostles described in the Fiery Prayer are fighting men, men of the
polemic. During his whole life St. John the Baptist was also a
polemicist. His life was but one long polemic to prepare the way of
In a parallel way, one can consider how his mission was well grounded
in reality. St. John the Baptist fully measured the defects of men. He
had a complete understanding of the effects of original sin. This is
why he was always warning people about those defects and inviting them
to penitence and to change their lives. Metanoia is the Greek word
that means a total conversion, a complete changing of one’s life; it summarizes well the goal of St. John the Baptist’s preaching. When one
reads St. Louis de Monfort describing man as vainer than toads, more
ferocious than tigers, falser than serpents, and so on, one hears
something of the preaching of the Apostles of the Last Times, and also
the preaching of St. John the Baptist.
The humility of the Apostles of the Last Times described by St. Louis
in the Fiery Prayer can also be compared with the extreme humility of
St. John the Baptist. He had that wonderful saying: “There cometh
after me, one mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not
worthy to stoop down and loose,” referring to Our Lord. And also this
one: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
His mission was to announce the Messiah. Therefore, once the Lamb of
God had arrived, the prophecy of St. John Baptist was fulfilled, and
his public mission decreased as he headed toward his martyrdom. On the contrary, Our Lord would increase until the complete fulfillment of
His divine mission. The humility of St. John the Baptist was rewarded.
After his martyrdom, his name was covered with glory. Our Lord said
that no man born from woman was greater than he. It is impossible to
have a higher praise or more honorable glorification. But this glory
had as its foundation his most profound humility. Also, the humility
of the Apostles of the Last Times will be rewarded, since the men who
will fight the last battle against the Antichrist will be considered
so great that Our Lord will permit them to pass directly to Heaven,
without experiencing death.
In these points, therefore, one can see a parallel between the mission
of St. John the Baptist and the Apostles of the Last Times, namely
Elijah, the greatest of them. You could ask me: Where is the devotion
of St. John Baptist to Mary? What place did Our Lady have in his
Only later would Our Lady become manifest to the piety of the
faithful. Her action in the Church intensified only after Our Lord
ascended to Heaven and left her here to influence the destiny of the
Church. The mission of St. John Baptist was not to preach directly
about Our Lady. But in his life, there was an important event. When
Our Lady went to visit St. Elizabeth, he had the great fortune to hear
the voice of Our Lady and feel a joy from within the womb of St.
Elizabeth. The latter, after hearing the salutation of Mary, told her
that her infant had leaped with joy in her womb. He was, therefore, a
soul intensely turned toward Mary. Hearing her voice, he understood
her, loved her and leaped with joy.
There is a solid tradition in the Church that says St. John Baptist
was purified of original sin shortly after he was conceived, while
still in the womb of St. Elizabeth. So, this episode of the Gospel
referring to the child in the womb hearing Our Lady’s voice,
understanding her words and loving her is completely credible. . . .
I have never seen a compassionate and charitable man die a bad death.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according
to his great mercy hath regenerated us unto a lively hope, by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3)
A prayer to Our Lord:
O most merciful Jesus, lover of souls, I pray Thee by the
most sorrowful agony of Thy most Sacred Heart, and by
the sorrows of Thine Immaculate Mother, wash in Thy
Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in
their agony, and are to die this day. Amen.