Franciscan Calendar: Saint John the Baptist

Sister JulieAnn Sheahan

June 19, 2018

This June Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity highlight Saint John the Baptist (not Saint Anthony of Padua) as our saint of the month. Fittingly, Gerard David (Netherlandish, Oudewater ca. 1455–1523 Bruges) has a painting that focuses on Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint John the Baptist.

Saint John points to the Lamb of God and Saint Francis receives the stigmata on Mount Alverna. The landscape in each scene is similar. The sky is blue and the grass is green! The painting encourages conversation on qualities these two favorite saints have in common. These are men of sacrifice!

One obvious conversation starter, they were both trend setters known for unique fashion choices. Neither one wore typical clothing. John liked his animal skins. Francis wore  the robes of the poor beggars. A robe for a belt was quite enough to hold him together. Photo: Saint Anthony of Padua Church, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nature was home. John lived outside and was quite comfortable eating locusts and wild honey. The Poverello praised the sun, moon and stars and all God’s creatures. He called all of creation brother and sister. he spent a lot of time contemplating beauty in his many journeys from one place to another. Both their worlds revolved around the weather.

It was equally evident that  these two saints knew their mission, their purpose. Francis was to rebuild Christ’s Church. His passion was fired by a winged seraph. John was to point people to Christ, while blessing all to lead lives of repentence. Christ was their all. (Photo: Baptizing Christ, St. Rose of Lima Church, Cuba City, Wisconsin)

Each had a demanding role for their God and took it seriously. One could humbly see that he could not remove the sandals from the feet of his Lord. He was far from the expectant Savior. The other tried to be like Christ in all things. It took all their strength, their every moment to further the reign of God. Saint John the Baptist, pray for us. Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.

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