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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Dr John James

I have always found the life and death of John the Baptist profoundly moving. His statement that Jesus "must increase" while "I must decrease" in response to reports that many of his followers are moving across to Jesus is a beautiful ejaculatory prayer and a great antidote when pride and vanity start to cloud one's vision.
He seems the complete antithesis to Jesus, something Our Lord himself highlights when he says that the Pharisees condemn John as "possessed" because he lives on honey and locusts and seeks the solitude of the desert, but Jesus, they say, is a "drunkard" because he goes to parties and has dinner with sinners. Yet both ways can be made holy. Everyone must find out which way God wants them to pursue.
Finally, to die in a dungeon, in chains, beheaded, at the request of a woman who loathes you because you have spoken up fearlessly seems like a case history in failure. Yet clearly he gives great glory to God thereby, and his name is written in heaven.
My prayer is that God may grant us some of John's fortitude and humility.


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