>Birth of St. John the Baptist


It’s a Solemnity!
It’s a Solemnity of a happy day: the birth of St. John the Baptist!

Now, I’ve gone over this before but a solemnity is actually a big deal feast day…not really like it sounds – solemn in the sense of sad or grim.  Rather, it’s a specially marked day to remember some of the very important figures in our faith and history.  Obviously, St. John the Baptist…he’s a biggie!

Now this also means it’s a feast day of sorts for my Jon.  You know: patron/name and so on.  No surprise then, really, that I see many overlaps in character traits between these two John’s/Jon’s.  That’s how these things seem to go.  Names somehow evolve to seem very apt.  Maybe it’s all projecting by the parents, but even so….it’s my blog and I’m the mom and I’m going with it. 

So.  Here we have a day to remember and mark: the birth of this remarkable man, the herald of Christ to come, St. John the Baptist. 

Heck, even before he was born he was jumping around and making himself known, pointing (or kicking…) toward Christ.  When Mary went to visit Elizabeth, arriving and greeting her with a big hug, John lept in Elizabeth’s womb and Elizabeth knew, deep down, that something was up.  So I’m presuming it was more than your usual kick/bump/push by the babe.  Must’a been a whopper of a flip.  Maybe a little prenatal jump for joy?  Actually yes: 

“Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed in the fruit of your womb.  And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy.” Luke 1:41-44
Ok, this painting is  
Visitation by Mariotto Albertinelli (1503) and I saw it in the Uffizi.
I LOVE this painting. I do.  

So, that’s just cool.

But, what ya gotta also think of, ok, what I think of, is that little John…he was no milquetoast.  I mean, even before he was out and squinting at the light, he was already pointing and pushing and making a bit of a ruckus.  Elizabeth, she should have sensed what was to come.  Maybe she did.  Tho, not many moms will even dare look ahead to such radical futures for their kids: heading off into the desert, scavenging for food, not wearing the nice clean linens that we got or made for them…nope, not what might have been dreamt.  But it was precisely his hardheaded radical ways that made him who he is and was.  Those very traits of fearless speaking out earned him followers and prepared the way for Christ. It was exactly like it was supposed to be.  So he got the biggest honor of all: baptizing Christ.  Whoa.  He got to take part in a miracle for all to see.  And still he was his own kind of raggedy but strong difficult stubborn self.  To the very end, even to his beheading (another vision that no mom wants to even consider, yikes).

 El Greco, you know I love his stuff….

So, for all of us, we get to think about how to be countercultural today.  How to say the truth, even if it’s hard. How to stand up for what is right, not necessarily easy.  How to stay clothed in the less than flashy skins of integrity, loyalty and humble truth.  And my Jon, he has these qualities (maybe needing some work on the humble part…he’s 18 after all….): he has deep running integrity and a radar seeking truth, he is a champion of the small and weak. 

 {Yeah, even will stand up for his sisters…go figure}

He will speak out, in the desert or in the face of the powerful.  I know he too will do great things, even if hard.  And while sometimes I might personally want to roll his head down the hall in frustration…I DO wish him a different end than that of his patron.

But today is the day to celebrate the BIRTH of St. John the Baptist, not the end.  To think of the promise that even that little baby showed and that his intuitive saintly mama knew, from the very beginning: he was special.

Happy Solemnity!

Tintoretto, 1563


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