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Tag Archives: St John the Baptist

O FOR THY SPIRIT (HYMN)

O FOR THY SPIRIT (HYMN)

O for thy spirit, holy John, to chasten

Lips sin-polluted, fettered tongues to loosen;

So by thy children might thy deeds of wonder

Meetly be chanted.

 

Lo! a swift herald, from the skies descending,

Bears to thy father’s promise of thy greatness;

How he shall name thee, what thy future story,

Duly revealing.

 

Scarcely believing message so transcendent,

Him for season power of speech forsaketh,

Till, at thy wondrous birth, again returneth

Voice to the voiceless.

 

Thou, in thy mother’s womb all darkly cradled,

Knewest thy Monarch, biding in his chamber,

Whence the two parents, through their children’s merits,

Mysteries uttered.

 

Praise to the Father, to the Sole-begotten,

And to the Spirit, equal power possessing,

One God whose glory, through the lapse of ages,

Ever resoundeth.

Amen.

 

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 
 

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ST EDWARD THE CONFESSOR

ST EDWARD THE CONFESSOR

ST EDWARD, KING AND CONFESSOR – MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 13

Edward, called the Confessor, nephew of St Edward, king and Martyr, was he last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. When he was ten years old, the Danes, who were then devastating England, sought him out to kill him. He was forced to flee into exile to the court of his uncle, the Duke of Normandy, where his innocence of life won the admiration of all.

HE WAS FORCED TO FLEE INTO EXILE

The tyrants who robbed his brothers of their lives and their kingdom were eventually overthrown, and Edward was recalled to his country. There he devoted himself to removing all traces of havoc wrought by the enemy, beginning with the sacred temples of God.

HE FORESAW MUCH OF ENGLAND’S FUTURE HISTORY BY DIVINE INSPIRATION 

He was famous for the gift of prophecy and foresaw much of England’s future history by divine inspiration. He had a very special devotion to St John the Evangelist, and on the day predicted by that saint, he died a most holy death, namely on the Nones of January, in the year of salvation 1066. Pope Alexander III enrolled him among the saints.

PRAYER:

O God, who crowned blessed King Edward with the glory of eternity, grant us, we beseech you, so to venerate him on earth that we may be worthy to reign with him in heaven. Through our Lord…

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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THE BEHEADING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, GOSPEL READING (MARK 6:17-29)

I WANT YOU TO GIVE ME JOHN THE BAPTIST’S HEAD, HERE AND NOW, ON A DISH.

Herod had sent to have John arrested, and had him chained up in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife whom he had married. For John had told Herod, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife.” As for Herodias, she was furious with him and wanted to kill him; but she was not able to, because Herod was afraid of John, knowing him to be a good and holy man, and gave him his protection. When he had heard him speak he was greatly perplexed, and he liked to listen to him.

An opportunity came on Herod’s birthday when he gave a banquet for the nobles of his court, for his army officers and for the leading figures in Galilee. When the daughter of this same Herodias came in and danced, she delighted Herod and his guests; so the king said to the girl, “Ask me anything you like and I will give it you.” And he swore her an oath, “I will give you anything you ask, even half my kingdom.” She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” She replied, “The head of John the Baptist.” The girl hurried straight back to the king and made her request, “I want you to give me John the Baptist’s head, here and now, on a dish.”

The king was deeply distressed, but thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he was reluctant to break his word to her. So the king at once sent one of the bodyguard with orders to bring John’s head. The man went off and beheaded him in prison; then brought the head on a dish and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. When John’s disciples heard about this, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 
 

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THE BEHEADING OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, PSALM (PSALM 70)

R. My lips will tell of your justice, O Lord.

1. In you, O Lord, I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, free me:
pay heed to me and save me. (R.)

2. Be a rock where I can take refuge,
a mighty stronghold to save me;
for you are my rock, my stronghold.
Free me from the hand of the wicked. (R.)

3. It is you, O Lord, who are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, since my youth.
On you I have leaned from my birth,
from my mother’s womb you have been my help. (R.)

4. My lips will tell of your justice
and day by day of your help.
O God, you have taught me from my youth
and I proclaim your wonders still. (R.)

ALLELUIA

Alleluia, alleluia!
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right,
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Alleluia!

 
 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 14:1-12)

HEROD SENT AND HAD JOHN BEHEADED. JOHN’S DISCIPLES WENT OFF TO TELL JESUS.

Herod the tetrarch heard about the reputation of Jesus, and said to his court, “This is John the Baptist himself; he has risen from the dead, that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

Now it was Herod who had arrested John, chained him up and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. For John had told him, “It is against the Law for you to have her.”

He had wanted to kill him but was afraid of the people, who regarded John as a prophet. Then, during the celebrations for Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced before the company, and so delighted Herod that he promised on oath to give her anything she asked. Prompted by her mother she said, “Give me John the Baptist’s head, here, on a dish.”

The king was distressed but, thinking of the oaths he had sworn and of his guests, he ordered it to be given her, and sent and had John beheaded in prison. The head was brought on a dish and given to the girl who took it to her mother. John’s disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went off to tell Jesus.

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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IN CAVES OF THE LONE WILDERNESS (HYMN)

In caves of the lone wilderness your youth
You hid while shunning contact with all men,
To guard thus pure the treasure of your soul
From the least touch of sin.

Your sacred limbs were cloth’d in camel hide;
You slept upon a bed of hardest rock.
The stream your thirst, locusts and honey wild
Your hunger satisfied.

Eternal glory to the Father be,
Praise to the sole-begotten Son,
With you, co-equal Spirit, One in Three,
While endless ages run. Amen.

 

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PRAYER ON THE SOLEMNITY OF THE BIRTH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST

PETITIONS:

May we prepare the way of the Lord so that He may enter more fully into our daily lives.
V. Lord, hear us.
R. Lord, graciously hear us.

May we, like John the Baptist, be protected in the shadow of the Lord’s hand.
V. Lord, hear us.
R. Lord, graciously hear us.

PRAYER:

O God, as you grant us today’s feast of Saint John’s birthday, give to your people the grace of joy in the Spirit, and guide the hearts of all Christians in the way of salvation and peace. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

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“ST JOHN THE BAPTIST IS USUALLY PICTURED AS THE SORT OF PERSON YOU MIGHT TRY AND AVOID IF HE GOT ON YOUR BUS”

“St John the Baptist is usually pictured as the sort of person you might try and avoid if he got on your bus. With his ragged beard, unkempt hair and rough animal-skin clothes, he doesn’t look like he’s washed for a while. All the more surprising, then, that he developed a huge following – a following so big that King Herod Antipas (son of the King Herod who slaughtered the innocents in Bethlehem) thought he was enough of a threat to imprison him and finally behead him. Who was John and why was he so important?

NO ORDINARY CHILD

The Gospels tell us a great deal about John the Baptist. Luke’s Gospel begins with the story of John’s miraculous birth. It tell how Zechariah doesn’t believe the angel Gabriel when he brings news that the old priest and his elderly wife will have a son. Gabriel strikes Zechariah dumb as a sign to make him finally believe. Gabriel also makes clear that this will be no ordinary child. John’s mission is set out for him before he is even conceived. John is to prepare the people of Israel for the Lord. And Zechariah acknowledges this, as he regains the power of speech in his great prayer after John’s birth: ‘… you shall be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for him.’

So it is clear from the start that John is not simply another prophet, like those of the Old Testament. He is the cousin of Jesus and his contemporary, yet his job is to get people ready for the arrival of Jesus on the public scene. He is sometimes called the Precursor or the Forerunner because of his unique relationship to Christ. In art John is usually pointing to Christ. Whether this is the actual figure of Christ in the painting, or a lamb (symbolising Jesus), or whether he points to heaven, the images make clear that John is trying to deflect the viewers’ attention away from himself to Jesus.

A STRUGGLE

Deflecting attention was a struggle. With his large following it would have been easy for John to have made himself wealthy and powerful through his ministry. But John was no self-aggrandising minister, lining his pockets. In fact he was quite the opposite. He continually referred people back to the important message that someone greater was coming. We can read John’s words in [the] Gospel: ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the straps of his sandals.’ Many at the time thought that this meant that a great military leader was coming who would rescue them from both Herod and the Romans, but John’s message is that the one who is coming is filled not with military might, but with the Holy Spirit.

FULFILMENT

The moment of the baptism of Jesus is when John’s message comes to fulfilment. In accepting baptism Jesus endorses John’s ministry. But the occasion is more than just an endorsement of John. It is a public statement of who Jesus is. This baptism marks the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry.

Jesus takes over from John, finally revealing himself both as the longed-for Christ and as the fulfilment of all John’s prophecies. In contrast to the silencing of Zechariah, the sign in this case is the voice heard from heaven, clearly affirming that Jesus is God’s Son, the Beloved. The baptism of the Lord is the culmination of John’s work. John brings Jesus to the forefront of everyone’s attention and shows them that Jesus really is the Christ, the one he has been preparing them for, the one they have been awaiting so long.”
– from “Sunday Bulletin”, 11th January 2009

 

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