Reflection by Colleen Rooney
Today’s Gospel: John 1:19-28 – Memorial of Saints Basil the Great and Gregory Nazianzen
Through the witness of John, the Baptist, I hear the Holy Spirit saying: know who you are and who you are not! Humility is the virtue that is so important to our self-understanding and the cornerstone of growth in the spiritual life. John possesses it. He is humble.
John is doing the work of God, but he knows his work is not the great work of the One of whom he tells the Pharisees, “There is one among you whom you do not recognize…whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” Do I realize how important the virtue of humility is to knowing myself and to my relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who know me as I am? Humility bathes us in the light of our true self. It is not humiliation, although sometimes we are humiliated. Rather, humility is seeing who we really are in God’s creation.
St. Thérèse of Lisieux used the image of a garden with many kinds of flowers from the wildflowers of the field to the delicate roses of the fine gardens. Each flower was created by the Divine Artist and arrayed splendidly in His creation. Is not each of us a splendid creation of the Father in the field of life called to live and do some work for the kingdom? John the Baptist knew who he was: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.’” None of us are called to the work of John the Baptist, but all of us are called to be the unique, unrepeatable person God created and to do some work that no one else was created to do.
What can I learn from John the Baptist? Do I have the courage to let the Holy Spirit show me who I am?
St. John the Baptist, you were honored by God to be the voice calling in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord.” You humbly accepted that call and pointed the way to Christ. Help me to accept who I am and to do the work that the Lord calls me to do.
Copyright 2020 Colleen Rooney
Colleen Rooney has a M.A. in Theology from St. John’s University, Jamaica, NY. She has taught the faith in schools and parish religious education programs. She presents a yearly workshop at the Arlington Diocesan Catechetical Conference: Introducing Your Students to Jesus as a Young Boy. She is the author of Celebrating Advent and Christmas with Children.
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