Learning from St. John the Baptist
What a huge role St. John the Baptist played in salvation history! He was a contemporary of Christ who was known for recognizing Christ in the womb, evangelizing, and baptizing Jesus — Come on… HE BAPTIZED JESUS! He was named in all for Gospels as well! Yet, for some reason, I find it hard to relate to St. John. My gut tells me he is a powerful intercessor and based on his life, there’s no doubt he was a holy man. I wanted to get to know him a little better, become more familiar with him, and put myself in his… well… single, coarse, rough garment he wore.
Here are the 4 virtues of St. John the Baptist I think every man can raise a glass to:
1. HIS SELF- DENIAL
He lived far from the world in the solitude of the desert wearing camels hair and his food was of the poorest description. I could get onboard for some wild honey but locusts?! Strong pass. Come to think about it, I don’t think I would be willing to take on the hive of bees to get the honey.
2. HIS OBEDIENCE
It had to be a ridiculously hard task to preach penance to the sensual and worldly-minded Jews of that time. We all know how hard it is today to talk about repenting and penance, I’m sure it wasn’t any easier back then. Nonetheless, John promptly undertook the task, not because he wanted to or because he thought it would be easy, but because God commanded it. Which brings me to #3…
3. HIS COURAGE
John did not hesitate to speak out the truth boldly to the Pharisees and Sadducees, although he knew they would hate him for it. Regardless of being hated by many, he still taught in charity and was able to baptize tax-collectors. It’s not easy to do the right thing when you know you will be hated for it… John did it anyway.
4. HIS HUMILITY
It’s clear he spoke to hundreds if not thousands of people. Many thought John could be the Messiah. But John rebuked this claim saying, “I am not the Christ. I am not worthy to loose the latchet of his sandals.” He knew his vocation and he would not have it confused or blurred. He knew he was here to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Learn more about St. John the Baptist at www.newadvent.org.