Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Repentance: Set Free From Ourselves

Thursday we will remember the Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist. The gory details need not detain us here. You can read the full account in Mark 6:17-29, or listen to it at Mass if you prefer. Dancing girls, a wicked ruler, beheading... none too attractive but all too interesting.

Leave it to Benedict XVI to pull from the story a spiritual lesson of the first magnitude.

"The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God's obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, unequivocal clarity, but,instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed.

John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call for
metanoia or a change of mentality, in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. Only when we act in this manner does another- and doubtless the greatest- saying of the Baptist reveal its full significance: 'He must increase, but I must decrease' (Jn 3:30). We will know God to the extent that we are set free from ourselves."

2 comments:

JustMe said...

Is this not also what Mother Teresa lived in her darkest night? I get truly angry when (as if to dismiss her holiness??) folks are suddenly saying, "Ah, she was depressed." Hello, life IS depressing -- if one tries to truly love and not just life for self -- and I don't know too many who tried to love like Mother tried to.. and succeeded so magnificently! There is nothing harder in life than to decrease, especially so that He may increase. But the wisest among us know how crucial it is. And the holiest know how holy it is. And the most loving know how loving it is.

Phil B. said...

All true- and you just pushed me into publishing Fr. Cantalamessa's comments about Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. I think they'll confirm your own observations- and go right along with B-16's comments about John the Baptist.