With today’s Gospel relating to John the Baptist, I started reflecting on how I view him. I often see most of the prophets as being rather severe. Very annoyed with everyone around them. Divinely commissioned to give a good tongue-lashing.
This view of mine I know is deficient. I also started to think about St. Teresa of Avila’s pillars of the spiritual life — detachment, humility, and love.
Scripture certainly testifies that John the Baptist evidenced the first two. Teresa’s pillars are interdependent and to grow in one is to grow in the others, the inverse is also true. So this got me thinking about John’s inner life. His love for God and neighbor. It is easy to see him as a model of detachment and humility. To love is to will the good for others and thus his warnings to others were motivated by this. Besides the warnings, he preached “good news to the People.” His love for Jesus was such that he only wanted to give of himself, to decrease, and to have Christ increased.
So I really need to deepen my understanding of John the Baptist and the prophets that went before him. To see John’s burning love of God and neighbor.