The birth of St. John was foretold by an angel of the Lord to his father, Zachary, who was offering incense in the Temple. It was the ofﬁce of St. John to prepare the way for Christ, and before he was born into the world he began to live for the Incarnate God. Even in the womb he knew the presence of Jesus and of Mary, and he leaped with joy at the glad coming of the Son of man. In his youth he remained hidden, because He for Whom he waited was hidden also. But before Christ’s public life began, a divine impulse led St. John into the desert; there, with locusts for his food and haircloth on his skin, in silence and in prayer, he chastened his own soul. Then, as crowds broke in upon his solitude, he warned them to ﬂee from the wrath to come, and gave them the baptism of penance, while they confessed their sins. At last there stood in the crowd One Whom St. John did not know, till a voice within told him that it was his Lord. With the baptism of St. John, Christ began His penance for the sins of His people, and St. John saw the Holy Ghost descend in bodily form upon Him. Then the Saint’s work was done. He had but to point his own disciples to the Lamb, he had but to decrease as Christ increased. He saw all men leave him and go after Christ. “I told you,” he said, “that I am not the Christ. The friend of the Bridegroom rejoiceth because of the Bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulﬁlled.” St. John had been cast into the fortress of Machaerus by a worthless tyrant whose crimes he had rebuked, and he was to remain there till he was beheaded, at the will of a girl who danced before this wretched king. In this time of despair, if St. John could have known despair, some of his old disciples visited him. St. John did not speak to them of himself, but he sent them to Christ, that they might see the proofs of His mission. Then the Eternal Truth pronounced the panegyric of the Saint who had lived and breathed for Him alone: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist.”
The Precursor of Christ was filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb. After an austere life as a hermit, he announced the Advent of Christ, preached penitence, and baptized in the Jordan. He was beheaded during the reign of Herod. The day of the death of other saints is kept as their feast, and in the case of St. John the Baptist the day of his birth is celebrated, as their feast, and in the case of St. John the Baptist the day of his birth is celebrated, as having taken place amidst the outpouring of the gifts of the Paraclete. The feast is celebrated with great liturgical splendor, the stational Mass was celebrated In the Basilica of the Saviour. The grandeur of early devotion to the Baptist need cause no one to wonder, if we realize the eminent position which St. John holds In the history of the Incarnation. His seal of canonization is seen in the eulogy addressed to him by the Word of God Himself made man, when He pointed him out to the people as the greatest among all the prophets, and among all those born of woman, the new Elias, the burning and shining bright.
Solemnity of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist
Double of the First Class with a Common Octave / White Vestments
Missa ‘De ventre matris’
Introit – Isaias 49: 1-2
De ventre matris meæ vocávit me Dóminus nómine meo: et pósuit os meum ut gládium acútum: sub teguménto manus suæ protexit me, et pósuit me quasi sagíttam eléctam. Ps. 91: 2. Bonum est confitéri Dómino: et psállere nómini tuo, Altíssime. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.
From the womb of my mother the Lord hath called me by my name, and He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand He hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow. Psalm 91:2 It is good to give praise to the Lord, and to sing to Thy name, O Most High. V. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
Deus, qui præséntem diem honorábilem nobis in beáti Joánnis nativitáte fecísti: da pópulis tuis spirituálium grátiam gaudiórum; et ómnium fidélium mentes dírige in viam salútis ætérnæ. Per Dóminum.
O God, Who hast made this day honorable to us on account of the birth of blessed John, grant Thy people the grace of spiritual joys, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of eternal salvation. Through our Lord.
EPISTLE – Isaias 49: 1-3, 5-7
Auídte, ínsulæ, et atténdite, pópuli de longe: Dóminus ab útero vocávit me, de ventre matris meæ recordátus est nóminis mei. Et pósuit os meum quasi gládium acútum: in umbra manus suæ protéxit me, et pósuit me sicut sagíttam eléctam: in pháretra sua abscóndit me. Et dixit mihi: Servus meus es tu, Israël, quia in te gloriábor. Et nunc dicit Dóminus, formans me ex útero servum sibi: Ecce dedi te in lucem géntium, ut sis salus mea usque ad extrémum terræ. Reges vidébunt, et consúrgent príncipes, et adorábunt propter Dóminum, et sanctum Israël, qui elégit te.
GRADUAL – Jeremias 1: 5, 9
Priúsquam te formárem in útero, novi te: et ántequam exires de ventre,sanctificávi te. V. Misit Dóminus manum suam, et tétigit os meum, et dixit mihi.
Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee. V. The Lord put forth His hand, and touched my mouth: and said to me.
ALLELUIA – Luke 1: 76
Allelúia, allelúia. V. Tu, puer prophéta Altíssimi vocáberis: præíbis ante Dóminum paráre vias ejus. Allelúia.
Alleluia, alleluia. V. Thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest; thou shalt go before the Lord to prepare His ways. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 1: 57-68
Elisabeth implétum est tempus pariéndi, et péperit fílium. Et audiérunt vicíni, et cognáti ejus, quia magnificávit Dóminus misericórdiam suam cum illa, et congratulabántur ei. Et factum est in die octávo, venérunt círcumcídere púerum, et vocábant eum nómine patris sui Zacharíam. Et respóndens mater ejus, dixit: Nequáquam, sed vocábitur Joánnes. Et dixérunt ad illam: Quia nemo est in cognatióne tua, qui vócétur hoc nómine. Innuébant autem patri ejus, quem vellet vocári eum. Et póstulans pugillárem, scripsit, dicens: Joánnes est nomen ejus. Et miráti sunt univérsi. Apértum est autem illico os ejus, et lingua ejus, et loquebátur benedícens Deum. Et factus est timor super omnes vicínos eórum: et super ómnia montána Judææ divulgabántur ómnia verba hæc: et posuérunt omnes, qui audíerant in corde suo, dicéntes: Quis, putas puer iste erit? Etenim manus. Dómini erat cum illo. Et Zacharías pater ejus replétus est Spíritu Sancto, et prophetávit, dicens: Benedíctus Dóminus Deus Israël, quia visitávit et fecit redemptiónem plebis suæ.
Elizabeth’s full time of being delivered was come, and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolk heard that the Lord had showed His great mercy towards her, and they congratulated with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they called him by his father’s name, Zachary. And his mother answering, said Not so, but he shall be called John. And they said to her: There is none of thy kindred that is called by that name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing-table, he wrote, saying: John is his name: and they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened, and his tongue loosed; and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbours; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea; and all they that had heard them, laid them up in their heart, saying: What a one, think ye, shall this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him. And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost; and he prophesied, saying: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; because He hath visited, and wrought the redemption of His people.
OFFERTORY – Psalm 91: 13
Justus ut palma florébit: sicut cedrus, quæ in Líbano est, multiplicabitur.
The just man shall flourish like the palmtree; he shall grow up like the cedar of Lebanon.
Tua, Dómine, munéribus altária cumulámus: illíus nativitátem honóre débito celebrántes qui Salvatórem mundi et cécinit adfutúrum, et adésse monstrávit, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fílium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.
We heap Thine altars with gifts, O Lord, celebrating with fitting honour the nativity of him who heralded the coming of the Saviour, and pointed Him out when He had come, Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who liveth and reigneth.
Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Cœli, cœlorumque Virtutes ac beata Seraphim socia exultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti, jubeas, supplici confessione dicéntes.
It is truly meet and just, right and for our salvation that we should at all times and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord. through Whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, Dominations worship, Powers stand in awe. The Heavens and the Heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dóminus Deus Sábaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra glória tua. Hosánna in excélsis. Benedíctus qui venit in nómine Dómini. Hosánna in excélsis.
COMMUNION – Luke 1: 76
Tu, puer, prophéta Altíssimi vocáberis: præíbus enim ante fáciem Dómini paráre vias ejus.
Thou, child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Highest; for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord, to prepare His ways.
Sumat Ecclésia tua, Deus, beáti Joánnis Baptístæ generatióne lætitiam: per quem suæ regeneratiónis cognóvit auctórem, Dóminum nostrum Jesum Christum Fiiium tuum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat.
May Thy Church, O God, be joyful at the birth of blessed John the Baptist: through whom she knew the Author of her regeneration, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son: Who with Thee livest and reignest.
St. John the Baptist ora pro nobis.