MORNING MEDITATION IN THE CHAPEL OF THE
The example of John
Monday, 24 June 2013
(by L'Osservatore Romano, Weekly ed. in English, n.
27, 3 July 2013)
A Church inspired
by John the Baptist “exists to proclaim her Bridegroom” and “to proclaim this
word even to martyrdom”. Concelebrating with the Pope was Cardinal Gianfranco
Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture; taking part in the Mass
were priests and personnel of the dicastery, as well as staff of the Pontifical
Commission for Sacred Archaeology and of the Vatican’s Philatelic Office.
On the Solemnity of St John the Baptist the Holy Father spoke of the prophet.
Who really was John? John himself told the scribes and Pharisees he was a voice
crying in the wilderness, the Pope went on, “he was preaching about another who
was yet to come”. The meaning of his life was to prepare the way for another. In
all this lies “the mystery of John” who “never makes the word his own”. St John
is the one who points to him, who teaches, the voice that indicates Another.
In sum, he is “a voice, not a word, a light but not his own, John seems to be
nothing”. This is John’s “vocation”. “When we contemplate the life of this man,
so great, so powerful — everyone believed he was the Messiah — when we think of
how this life was annihilated, his last days spent in a dark prison, we discover
a mystery”. We only know that “his head ended on a platter as a great gift from
a dancer to an adulteress. I believe it is impossible to sink any lower, to
The Pope has no doubts. “The model we are offered today is John”, the model
of “a Church ever at the service of the Word”; and he urged the faithful to pray
for “the grace to imitate John”, to be “solely a Church-voice which points to
the Word, even to martyrdom”.