MARY, OUR MOTHER

Saturday, June 24, 2006



SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

In the Gospel of St. Luke (1:57-80), we read the story of the birth of this great Saint, whom the Lord said of him: "amongst those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist." (Luke 7:28). At the Visitation, when Our Blessed Lady, greeted her cousin Elizabeth, Our Lord, in Her womb, sanctified the unborn John in Elizabeth's womb, [recognizing the presence of Jesus and Mary, he lept for joy!] for John was called by the Father to be the forerunner of Christ! As the Cathechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) tells us: "John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last" (CCC 523); "John the Baptist, who goes 'before [the Lord] in the spirit and power of Elijah" (CCC 696); "St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare His way, 'Prophet of the Most High,' . . . he inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb." (CCC 523); "He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the 'voice' of the Consoler [Holy Spirit] who is coming" (CCC 719); "Finally, with John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit begins the restoration to man of 'the divine likeness, prefiguring what He would achieve with and in Christ" (CCC 720).

Here is how the birth of John occurred according to Blessed Mary of Agreda:
'Her time approaching, saint Elisabeth felt the child in motion as if he wanted to place himself on his feet; but he was merely following the ordinary course of nature and the dictates of obedience. Some moderate pains overtook the mother and she informed the Princess Mary. But she did not call Her to be present at the birth, because reverence for the dignity of Mary and for the Fruit within her womb, prudently withheld her from asking, what might not seem befitting. Nor was the great Mistress in the same room, but She sent her the coverings and swaddling-clothes, which She had made for the fortunate child. Presently thereafter he was born, very perfect and complete in shape, and by the freedom from impure matter showed signs of the purity of his soul. He was wrapped in the coverings sent by Mary, which therefore had already been great and venerable relics. Shortly after, when saint Elisabeth had composed herself, most holy Mary, at the command of the Lord, issued from her oratory, in order to pay her visit to the mother and child and give them her blessing.'
[Excerpted from City of God, Chapter XXII, Book II, page 224.]


(Act 13:23-25) God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.

Before His coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.'