St. John the Baptist had a most difficult office to fulfil; that of rebuking a king. Not that it is difficult for a man of rude arrogant mind to say a harsh thing to men in power,—nay, rather, it is a gratification to such a one; but it is difficult to rebuke well, that is, at a right time, in a right spirit, and a right manner. The Holy Baptist rebuked Herod without making him angry; therefore he must have rebuked him with gravity, temper, sincerity, and an evident good-will towards him. On the other hand, he spoke so firmly, sharply, and faithfully, that his rebuke cost him his life.
We who now live have not that extreme duty put upon us with which St. John was laden; yet every one of us has a share in his office, inasmuch as we are all bound “to rebuke vice boldly,” when we have fit opportunities for so doing.
Today the Church remembers the death of the Forerunner of Christ. Newman’s thoughts on St. John’s example of rebuke strike me as especially pertinent for today. But what a challenge it is to rebuke sin correctly! It is so very easy to whine about politicians with whom we never have personal contact. It is so very difficult to speak well to those whose lives we do impact, and most importantly, to pray for all.
- Our Lady’s Churches in Montreal
- End of Summer