June 24 is the Nativity of St. John the Forerunner. He remains one of my favorite saints. I am awed by his prophetic honesty and fearless speaking of the truth. He suffered for truth joyously – that is a holiness which astounds me.
St. Gregory the Great, Pope of Rome, wrote about the Lord’s baptizer:
“Let us listen to what Christ said to the crowds about John. What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? He did not expect them to assent to this, but to deny it. As soon as a slight breeze touches a reed it bends. What then does the reed represent, if not a worldly soul? Touched by approval or malice it turns round in every direction. A slight breeze of approval comes from someone’s mouth and it is cheerful and proud, bending over completely, so to speak, in the direction of being pleasant; if the breeze of praise becomes a wind of malice the reed bends quickly in the opposite direction, toward fierce anger. John was no reed, shaken by the wind. No one’s pleasant attitude made him agreeable, and no one’s anger made him bitter. Prosperity could not lift him up nor adversity bring him down. He was no reed shaken by the wind! No change in events deflected him from his upright state. My friends let us learn not to be reeds shaken by the wind. We must keep our minds steady before the breezes of opinion, and our hearts unbent. Malice should never provoke us to anger, nor favor make us revel in foolish enjoyment. We should not let prosperity make us proud, nor adversity trouble us. We who are firmly established in faith should not be moved at all by the vicissitudes of passing events.” (Be Friends of God, pg. 93)
Holy John the Forerunner pray to God for us!