Here’s the saint’s calendar for June 24, 2019, and some versions, (All St. John the Baptist today) each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful; for they are the Church Triumphant.
What a blessing it is to read these stories each morning!
The Catholic Church has many saints and reading about their lives has been a spiritual journey Catholics have been on since the publication of the Golden Legend, http://sourcebooks.web.fordham.edu/basis/goldenlegend/
From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints (which follows the old dating) listing all of the saints of today. https://web.archive.org/web/20060921231256/http://www.catholic-forum.com/Saints/day0624.htm
Here is a wonderful daily devotional site offering much to reflect on, including their version of saint of the day, Anastpaul https://anastpaul.wordpress.com/
Here is what the 1962 Roman Missal (old dating) says about The Birthday of St. 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 penance, and baptized in the Jordan. He was beheaded during the reign of Herod.” (p. 1322) The Daily Missal and Liturgical Manual. (2004). To purchase this Missal for your library go to the publisher, Baronius Press: London: https://www.baroniuspress.com/book.php?wid=56&bid=4#tab=tab-1
From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, (old dating) by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. edition, , St. JOHN THE BAPTIST. “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 Machærus by a worthless tyrant whose crimes be 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” http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots201.htm
From Franciscan Media, (new dating) The Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, “Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John….” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28).
“John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His baptism, he said, was for repentance. But one would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John was not worthy even to untie his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30).
“John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. Jesus thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic.
“The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus.
“Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, when he was in prison he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.” https://www.franciscanmedia.org/solemnity-of-the-nativity-of-saint-john-the-baptist/
From Tradition in Action, (old dating) St. John the Baptist, “It would be interesting to analyze the aspects of St. John the Baptist’s life that characterize him as a perfect Apostle of the Last Times, as described by St. Louis Grignion de Monfort. Not because his times were the last times, but because they were the last times of that era.
“St. John the Baptist was the person sent by God to lay straight the way of the Lord, to prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, to act in the last times before the Messiah. The Apostle of the Last Times also must prepare for the coming of Our Lord; he will also have to act in the last times before the second coming of the Messiah. There is a parallel between these two men, just as there is a parallel between the first and the second coming of the Messiah.
“The parallel between the time of Christ and the last times is very clear in the Gospel when Our Lord spoke about the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem from two different perspectives. First, He spoke about the material destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem, a prophecy that was fulfilled historically by Titus in the year 70. He also spoke of the destruction of the Temple from a symbolic perspective, referring to the end of world, of which the Temple was a symbol.
“There are two destructions of the Temple, two comings of Our Lord, two men sent by God to prepare the way of the Lord. The first was St. John the Baptist and the last will be Elias, the Prophet. These two men are the models, the paradigms, the prototypes of the Apostles of the Last Times.
“In one part of the Fiery Prayer by St. Louis Grignion de Monfort, he describes the Apostles of the Last Times, pointing to those men who will live in a tragic situation: “Ah, let me cry out everywhere: Fire! Fire! Fire! Help! Help! Help! Fire even within the sanctuary!”
“The same kind of warning was given by St. John the Baptist, a prophet who pictured the moral situation of his time as extremely bad. He did not fear to tell the truth to the Scribes and Pharisees. He was not afraid to censure the Jewish people for the moral decadence into which they had fallen. He did not tremble to spell out to Herod the evil he had done – and this would be the cause of his death.
“St. John the Baptist was a man who accomplished his duty of telling the truth about the situation in which he lived, the entire truth, completely, fearlessly, even to his death.
“Also worth of note is the polemic character of the mission. The Apostles described in the Fiery Prayer are fighting men, men of the polemic. During his whole life St. John the Baptist was also a polemicist. His life was but one long polemic to prepare the way of Our Lord.
“In a parallel way, one can consider how his mission was well grounded in reality. St. John the Baptist fully measured the defects of men. He had a complete understanding of the effects of original sin. This is why he was always warning people about those defects and inviting them to penitence and to change their lives. Metanoia is the Greek word that means a total conversion, a complete changing of one’s life; it summarizes well the goal of St. John the Baptist’s preaching. When one reads St. Louis de Monfort describing man as vainer than toads, more ferocious than tigers, falser than serpents, and so on, one hears something of the preaching of the Apostles of the Last Times, and also the preaching of St. John the Baptist.
“The humility of the Apostles of the Last Times described by St. Louis in the Fiery Prayer can also be compared with the extreme humility of St. John the Baptist. He had that wonderful saying: “There cometh after me, one mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loose,” referring to Our Lord. And also this one: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
“His mission was to announce the Messiah. Therefore, once the Lamb of God had arrived, the prophecy of St. John Baptist was fulfilled, and his public mission decreased as he headed toward his martyrdom. On the contrary, Our Lord would increase until the complete fulfillment of His divine mission. The humility of St. John the Baptist was rewarded. After his martyrdom, his name was covered with glory. Our Lord said that no man born from woman was greater than he. It is impossible to have a higher praise or more honorable glorification. But this glory had as its foundation his most profound humility. Also, the humility of the Apostles of the Last Times will be rewarded, since the men who will fight the last battle against the Antichrist will be considered so great that Our Lord will permit them to pass directly to Heaven, without experiencing death.
“In these points, therefore, one can see a parallel between the mission of St. John the Baptist and the Apostles of the Last Times, namely Elias, the greatest of them.
“You could ask me: Where is the devotion of St. John Baptist to Mary? What place did Our Lady have in his preaching?
“Only later would Our Lady become manifest to the piety of the faithful. Her action in the Church intensified only after Our Lord ascended to Heaven and left her here to influence the destiny of the Church. The mission of St. John the Baptist was not to preach directly about Our Lady. But in his life, there was an important event. When Our Lady went to visit St. Elizabeth, he had the great fortune to hear the voice of Our Lady and feel a joy from within the womb of St. Elizabeth. The latter, after hearing the salutation of Mary, told her that her infant had leaped with joy in her womb. He was, therefore, a soul intensely turned toward Mary. Hearing her voice, he understood her, loved her and leaped with joy.
“There is a solid tradition in the Church that says St. John the Baptist was purified of original sin shortly after he was conceived, while still in the womb of St. Elizabeth. So, this episode of the Gospel referring to the child in the womb hearing Our Lady’s voice, understanding her words and loving her is completely credible.
“It is probable that as a relative of Our Lady, St. Elizabeth would have gone to visit her many times, bringing her child along with her. Also, after the death of St. Elizabeth, it is probable that St. John the Baptist would often have visited Jesus and Mary.
“Then, it is also probable that every time he heard the voice of Our Lady, he would have experienced the same joy he felt the first time. It would be a continuation of that same exultation. It is probable that he never forgot that elation and that it always remained in his soul as a kind of permanent consolation.
“Let us venerate St. John the Baptist as a model of the perfect devotee of Our Lady, as a model of the Apostles of the Last Times, and as a man of fight. Let us ask him to grant us graces to fulfill our vocation, which is similar in so many ways with that of those Apostles. Principally, we should ask him for the grace to always exult when Our Lady speaks some word in the interior of our souls inviting us to be closer to her.” https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j026sdJohntheBaptist6-24.html