Grand Commandery Knights Templar Rhode Island & Massachusetts
Greetings Sir Knights;
Saints are usually commemorated on the day of their going to heaven, which in the early times of Christianity often coincided with their martyrdom. However, the feast day of Saint John the Baptist, one of the two eminent Christian patrons in Freemasonry, has had a unique status since the Church’s first centuries, with his birth, six months before that of Jesus, also being celebrated. The Church has always known, through Scripture, that the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary, with the Lord already in her womb, visited her cousin Elizabeth.
We read in Luke 1:10-15: “And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.’”
The mystery of John is still fulfilled in the world today. Anyone destined to believe in Christ must first have the spirit and power of John come into their soul to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17) and so that “the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth” (Luke 3:5), the roughness of the human heart. Not only was this true in those times, but also today the spirit and strength of John precedes the coming of our Lord and Savior.
Every Christian is called to continue the mission of John the Baptist, preparing people for the encounter with Christ: “How beautiful is the conduct of John the Baptist!” Saint Josemaría wrote. “How clean, how noble, how disinterested! He truly prepared the way for the Lord. His disciples only knew Christ by hearsay. And he encourages them to dialogue with the Master; he urges them to look closely at Him and get to know Him; he gives them the opportunity to admire the wonders Christ is working.” The life of Saint John the Baptist was disciplined and penitent, in keeping with the message of conversion that he preached. His preaching was a bold announcement of God’s truth, to which he bore witness even to the point of death. Like him, we too are called to take Christ to the places where our lives unfold. Therefore, like John and his disciples, we will set our eyes on Jesus so that, filled with his life, we can invite those by our side to do the same.
As the activities of our Templar year subside during the summer months, let us be ever mindful of these words and continue to think, speak, and act in accordance with the life of John. Let us reflect on his life and prepare ourselves so that we may guide others toward their encounter with Jesus.
In His Knightly Service,
S. K. Eugene Blake Nichols.
IN HOC SIGNO VINCES
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