Advent Day 15: Testify Together

Today’s Gospel: John 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light.

And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to him to ask him, “Who are you?” He admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Christ.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?”

He said: “I am the voice of one crying out in the desert,’make straight the way of the Lord,’” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him,”Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water; but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.


Just as today’s Gospel begins, we too have been sent from God by virtue of our baptism. We have a God-given mission to “go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel” (Mk 16:15). How that is carried out in our lives will look different from person to person, but the fact remains that we are all called to go out. We must go out of our rooms and into our homes, go out of our homes and into the neighborhood, into our town or city, Church Parish, workplace, store, restaurant, voting booth, and everywhere else carrying the gospel. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we should proclaim the good news in love.

“Go out into the world today and love the people you meet. Let your presence light new light in the hearts of people.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

St. John the Baptist teaches us not to be a robot with a rote recorded message. He lived a very devout life. His words are coming out of a life lived for God, and so he brings witness and testimony before he even says a word. While we may not be called to wear what he wore, eat what he ate, or live where he lived, we are called to devote our life to the Lord. We are called to turn away from that which takes us away from God, and do the things that foster our relationship with God and show love to our neighbor.

“Charity and devotion are no more different from one another than flame from fire. Charity is a spiritual fire; when it is embraced it is called ‘devotion’.” – St. Francis de Sales

St. John the Baptist also teaches us about our call to be humble before the Lord. Of all the devotions and strict observances that St. John the Baptist observed, he never felt himself to be justified for anything. He testified that he was not even worthy to untie the sandals of the One who was to come. Compare that with what was said by the Pharisee in Luke 18 – he rattled off all that he had done according to the law, but in the end none of it was worth anything. St. John fasted, sacrificed, prayed, and lived a devout life, but it was from a humble heart. He knew that nothing he had done could undo his need for God’s mercy and forgiveness.

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” – St. Augustine

Ponder Together:
“No one reaches the kingdom of Heaven except by humility.” – St Augustine

Pray Together:
In light of what we read today about St. John the Baptist, as well as what he said in John 3:30 (“He must increase; I must decrease”), let us pray for the grace to decrease so that Christ our Lord and Savior may increase in us.

Please pray the Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. Amen

Plan Together:
Make a plan today to reflect again on the above litany during your private prayer time. Was there anything in the litany that was hard to pray for? If there was something that stuck out to you, bring it to God and talk with Him about it. Ask Him for the grace to let go of everything and anything that would prevent His increase in your life and in your marriage.

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