The Supreme adventure is being born
PRAYER for The Solemnity of St John the Baptist, the Precursor: Grant, we pray, almighty God, that your family may walk in the way of salvation and, attentive to what Saint John the Precursor urged, may come safely to the One he foretold, our Lord Jesus Christ, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. +Amen Ora Pro Nobis
“Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering. 11 Now an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. 12 Zechariah was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear [d]gripped him. 13 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 [e]name him John. 14 You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice over his birth. 15 For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit [f]while still in his mother’s womb. 16 And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 And it is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”.”[Luke 15:8-17]
Chesterton doesn’t directly address the birth of John the Baptist, although he references him twice in regard the manner of his death. But he does share with us his thoughts on the adventure of anyone’s birth, and certainly John had the supreme adventure of birth and life becoming the precursor of Christ, preparing the people for his coming!
We in turn, by obeying God’s command to preach the good news are preparing our listeners for Christ’s second coming. And what an adventure for the saints before us and for us as we become more aware of what God is doing with our birth and lives! Indeed, it does have all the elements of a fairy tale, though it is likely most of us will have to wait for anything resembling a “happily ever after”. But our faith tells us that is coming, too!
Chesterton on the import of birth and the child-like spirit it brings to the world
“The supreme adventure is being born. There we do walk suddenly into a splendid and startling trap… When we step into the family, by the act of being born, we do step into a world which is incalculable, into a world which has its own strange laws, into a world which could do without us, into a world we have not made. In other words, when we step into the family we step into a fairy-tale.”
-― G.K. Chesterton, Heretics, 1905
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”
― G.K. Chesterton, Gaiman epigragh from The Red Angel, Tremendous Trifles, 1909
“For children are innocent and love justice, while most of us are wicked and naturally prefer mercy.”
― G.K. Chesterton, On Household Gods and Goblins, 1922