Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting to know John the Baptist

Last year shortly after beginning the children's rosary we decided to have a Thanksgiving Prayer Service on the Feast of John the Baptist.  The Parish was encouraged to Fast on Bread and water as the Feast fell on a Friday.  Matthew 6:24-36 was read as the date of the Feast of John the Baptist fell on 6/24.  Candles were lit on the Alter for an evening together to Thank the Lord.
Candles from our Prayer Service
Earlier in the day in prayer I told St. John the Baptist that until that day I really had never spent much time praying to him.  I expressed to him that I wanted to get to know him better and asked that he make himself known to me in a special way that evening.

In preparation for the prayer service I pondered which mysteries we would pray.  As it was the Feast of John the Baptist I thought  it would be lovely to say the luminous mysteries.  However, as it was a Friday the convention would be the sorrowful mysteries.

The prayer service began with the scripture reading and then a Consecration prayer to both the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.  I then asked Sean to begin the rosary.  Sean grew up on an Island off the Coast of Ireland.  He has retained a wonderful Irish accent even though he is now in his seventies.  Sean has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother and has been praying the rosary daily since he was a small child.  He lost his sight gradually through his life and is now legally blind.

Sean began the rosary and then led us in the luminous mysteries.  I thought how wonderful that he decided to do the luminous mysteries as I had not had a chance to talk to him about which ones we would say that evening.  The following day after daily Mass I thanked him for choosing the luminous mysteries in honor of John the Baptist.  He was shocked.  He asked me if he had said the luminous mysteries and I said yes you did.  He was surprised he had said the luminous mysteries and he had no recollection of having done this.  I then remembered my request to John the Baptist to make himself known to me that evening.  He had done just that.  He was pointing me to the Holy Rosary and the mysteries that are contained within it.  Through that experience a fondness developed within me for the luminous mysteries and as the Feast again approached this year I felt that the children and I should prepare for his Feast through a nine day novena of the luminous mysteries of the rosary.

There are a few things I love about the way that John the Baptist chose to introduce himself to me.  He chose a blind man to speak through which is a beautiful image of both humility and a lesson that we see best with our hearts not our eyes.  We do not need to see a sign to meet Jesus or the Saints we meet them in prayer and when we listen closely they speak to us.

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