Thought of the day
Saturday, August 2, 2014

Saturday of the Seventeenth week in Ordinary Time
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John the Baptist’s greatness

Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157), Cistercian abbot 
3rd Sermon for the Nativity of John the Baptist ; SC 202 (trans. ©Cistercian Fathers series)
John the Baptist’s greatness

This was John's greatness, in virtue of which he reached such heights of greatness among the great that he crowned his great and countless virtues… with the greatest of all the virtues, humility. Reckoned as he was the highest of all, he freely and with the greatest devotion preferred to himself the Most Lowly One—and he put him before himself to such an extent as to declare himself unworthy to take off his shoes (Mt 3,11).

Let others wonder that he was foretold by prophets, that he was promised by an angel and… that he came of so holy and noble parents, even though aged and sterile… that he preceded the coming of the Redeemer… and prepared his way in the desert, that he converted the hearts of fathers to their sons and of sons to their fathers, (Lk 1,17) that he merited to baptize the Son, to hear the Father and to see the Holy Spirit, (Lk 3,22), and finally, that he strove for the truth even to death and, so that he might go before Christ also to the lower regions, was Christ's martyr before Christ's passion. Let others, I say, wonder at these things… 

What is set before us, brethren, not only to be wondered at but also to be imitated, is the virtue of his humility, by which he refused to be regarded as greater than he was, although he could have been… For as a faithful “friend of the Bridegroom”, (Jn 3,29) a lover more of the Lord than of himself, he wished that he himself might “diminish” in order that Christ might “grow” (v.30) and made it his business to increase Christ’s glory by means of his own diminution. Before St Paul he made his own in act and in truth those words of the Apostle: "We do not preach ourselves but the Lord Jesus Christ" (2Cor 4,5).

Source: © 2001-2014

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