Besides Our Lord and Our Lady, St. John the Baptist is the only person in the liturgical calendar who gets a feast day for both his entrance into the world (June 24th) and his entrance into heaven (today, August 29th, the feast of his martyrdom). Most saints are celebrated only on or near the day of their death.
St. John the Baptist was special, though. He was both our Lord’s blood relative and His appointed herald. Both his birth and his martyrdom are recounted in the Gospels; both are interwoven with Our Lord’s own early life and public ministry.
St. John is a saint who can give us some serious inspiration for our spiritual lives. He was tough. He was courageous. He epitomized hair-shirt penances and meatless fasts. He was not afraid of speaking the truth, even when it could—and eventually did—result in his imprisonment and death.
When John was cast into prison for chastising Herod for his illicit relationship, Jesus explicitly praises His cousin’s courage to the listening crowd:
What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings’ houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
Although we may not all be called into the desert, we are all called to emulate his resounding courage. This mug featuring the famous quote “Be Not Afraid” from Pope St. John Paul the Great, is a great reminder to take courage and follow St. John’s example in spreading God’s love in a hostile world. Get yours today at The Catholic Company!