Join us as we reflect, ponder, and pray together inspired by today's Gospel.
Today's Gospel: Luke 1:5-17
The prophecy of St. John the Baptist’s life, as told by the angel to his father Zechariah, sounds like one that any parent would want to sign up for! "Many will rejoice." "He will be great." "Filled with the Holy Spirit." "Prepare a people fit for the Lord."
The reality of St. John the Baptist’s life, as we know now, looked quite different from what Zechariah might have imagined in that moment. He almost certainly did not think that the angel’s description entailed imprisonment by an oppressive regime and a gruesome beheading as cold-hearted revenge against John’s own prophetic words.
Any nativity is a moment of great rejoicing. But every joyful nativity contains within itself the seed of sorrowful contradiction.
Every life will contain suffering.
St. John the Baptist’s own suffering sprang directly out of the angel’s glorious, prophetic call. He was great. He was Spirit-filled. He prepared a people fit for the Lord . . . and was martyred for it.
As parents, we pray for our children to be happy and healthy. But we must also pray for them to be holy -- and to have the capacity to withstand whatever hardships will come to them precisely because of the unique, personal vocation of holiness to which they are called.
Every joyful nativity also contains within itself the seed of glorious eternal life. At his conception, St. John was gifted not just with a difficult mission, but with all the graces he needed to complete it. At his birth, he began to live out that mission. His parents did not receive the graces to fulfill that mission themselves, or (possibly) even to understand it . . . only the grace to support it.
How can you pray for and actively support the mission God has placed on your children’s lives, even when they must face hardship to complete it?
St. John the Baptist, intercede for our children as they live out their baptismal calls to be prophets for the people of the Lord. Heavenly Father, grant us the grace we need to support their earthly missions.
Copyright 2022 Christy Wilkens
About the Author
Christy Wilkens, wife and mother of six, is an armchair philosopher who lives in Austin, TX. She writes at FaithfulNotSuccessful.com about disability, faith, doubt, suffering, community, and good reads. Her first book, Awakening at Lourdes: How an Unanswered Prayer Healed Our Family and Restored Our Faith, a memoir about a pilgrimage with her husband and son, will be released by Ave Maria Press in 2021.