Sunday, August 27, 2017

Learn and Pray on the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist

August 29 is the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist - a rather gruesome Biblical story to relate to sensitive children, but one that can be shared with a focus on John's virtues, rather than the details of his death.  Holy Spirit Interactive does this succinctly, reminding us that:
"(John the Baptist) would not remain silent while sin and injustice were happening. He asked people to be sorry for their sins, obey God and be His friend as true happiness comes only from God."

The Newman Connection
also does a good job at offering a succinct explanation of the day, with a well written practical take away:

St. John the Baptist spoke the truth with great courage in calling others to a true change of heart, and to embrace the ways of God.  He did this not only by preaching, but also by example.  He fasted in the desert, and prepared the way for Jesus.  He had such a great courage, that he wasn’t fearful of speaking out about the immoral activities of his day.  This was the reasoning that led to his death, but he continued.  We can learn a lot from his life.  We too, can embrace the ways of God and speak out of the immorality of our day, and with the help of St. John the Baptist, we can prepare the way for Jesus to those around us. 

On this day, we will be bringing out our St. John the Baptist peg doll, which was painted by my youngest about a year ago for a peg doll swap we did with siblings and friends.

I love that he chose St. John the Baptist to paint for the swap, because St. John the Baptist is indirectly his name saint.  (My son is named after great-grampy, who went by Jack, but was named John Baptista after John the Baptist.) So, I thought it was great how my son wanted to paint his name saint... multiple...

... and learn more about St. John the Baptist and his symbols... he could share St. John the Baptist's story with friends.


Of course, the peg swap was not the first time we shared about S. John the Baptist with friends before.  A couple years ago, we celebrated John the Baptist's feast day through stories, food, water balloon games, and a baptism tray. If you're looking for lighter activities and ideas, go take a peak at what we did:

Any which way, you decide to honor the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist, it is worth thinking about the spiritual applications of St. John the Baptist's story as shared by Fr. Michael Van Sloun at Catholic

"The Baptist had a number of outstanding spiritual qualities.   He was a fierce advocate for truth and justice, fought hard for what is right, demonstrated his faith in a very public manner, walked in straight paths and urged others to do likewise, directed attention away from himself to Jesus, had a humble estimation of himself, and endured the suffering that came his way.  These admirable traits serve as inspiration and guidance for our spiritual lives."
The article there is not long as is quite worth a read to get an overview on the historical event of St. John the Baptist's death, its Gospel context, and its spiritual significance.

For more in depth details about St. John the Baptist, including links to many beautiful artworks, head on over to's John the Baptist page.

Also, consider sharing this prayer with your family:

O God, who willed that Saint John the Baptist should go ahead of your Son both in his birth and in his death, grant that, as he died a Martyr for truth and justice, we, too, may fight hard for the confession of what you teach. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
~Collect Prayer, as shared on Catholic Culture, where you can find more details about the Memorial of the Passion of John the Baptist

May we all speak truth with courage, as St. John the Baptist did, calling others to true changes of heart, and speaking out against immorality.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.


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