The birth of John the Baptist was one of the earliest feasts to be named to a particular day on the Church calendar. June 24 was chosen as it is six months before the birth of Christ. With its proximity to the summer solstice, it signifies the waning of the light, while the birth of Jesus near the winter solstice marks the coming of the light. When John was born, his parents, Elizabeth and Zechariah, called him John in accordance with an angel’s instruction. In disbelief that they would have a son, Zechariah asked for a sign and was made mute, but with the giving of the name, his speech was restored. Luke records that he responded with the Benedictus, the great hymn of love and thanksgiving still recited in the liturgy of the hours.
The gospels are bereft of details regarding Mary’s parents – Jesus’ grandparents – not even offering their names. What we do know comes from writings excluded the canon of Scripture, in particular the Protogospel of James. Nevertheless, the cult of Saint Anne existed in the 6th century in the Church of Constantinople and early in the 8...More
The Feast of the Transfiguration has been observed on this day by the universal Church since the 15th century. The experience on Mount Tabor is one where Jesus reveals his divinity, and invites us all into a similar mystical encounter. The path up that mountain proceeds through prayer, and on this feast we are encouraged to read and reflect ...More