A blessed memorial of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, recounted in all three of the synoptic Gospels. His martyrdom was at the request of the alluring daughter of Salome, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney would often allude to this account in his condemnation of ‘dancing’, that the price of a lust may well be someone’s head.
Herod had a choice to make, deep within his conscience. It is recounted that te enjoyed listening to John’s preaching, even though the prophet condemned Herod’s unlawful marriage. But the conscience of Herodias, his alleged wife, would not be so wavering, and in the spirit of vengeance, asked for the head of the troublesome prophet, quickly realizing, we may assume, with the future Lady Macbeth, that murder, to put things mildly, only exacerbates a troubled mind. Poor Herod chose badly, honouring men rather than God, and we may hope that in some way he, along with his paramour and her dancing daughter, found repentance, perhaps through the intercession of the very saint they killed.
Normally, we celebrate the death of a saint more than their birth (the only other two births in the Church’s calendar are Our Lady’s and Our Lord’s). But for John the Baptist, as the one who inaugurated our shift to the ‘great, good news’ of Christ’s arrival, we celebrate more his coming into the world (as a solemnity, on June 24th) than his exiting therefrom (today, a memorial).
But we celebrate regardless, even with dancing, just not lewdly, and avoid any rash and hasty promises.
On a more secular front, the O.P.P. have a new roadside test for marijuana intoxication, which is already fraught with problems even before it has been used. The coffee-maker sized machine tests for traces of THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient which makes one, well, ‘stoned’, producing the psychotropic effects of the drug through a complex neuronal pathway.
Marijuana is different from alcohol (on which difference I will write more later), not least in that it is far more difficult to detect. The new device apparently has a 15% ‘false positive’ rating, which means that even if you are as un-stoned as a judge (or, more likely, as John the Baptist, subsisting on locusts and wild honey, an early vegan of sorts, although for quite different reasons), there is more than a one in ten chance in the police’s now random spot checks (themselves unconstitutional) you may well be hauled into the police station, in handcuffs, your car impounded, and be forced to submit to a blood test.
Furthermore, ‘regular’ users, which I think includes most of those who partake of the green-leaf and its derivatives, may always test positive, even if they are not technically debilitated, for THC has a habit of lodging within your brain and nervous system for a long, long time. Hmm. Even prescinding from all the other disastrous effects of permitting widespread marijuana use, this will lead significant constitutional challenges. For now, we witness yet again more expansion of the encroaching police state in which we live.
The greater the vices of a society, and the weaker the conscience of its members, the more police you will need, but with ever-lessening effectiveness. What we do need is a virtuous society, or more properly a virtuous people, which no laws can ever replace.
And while on conscience and legal challenges, the Holy Father continues his silence on the accusations of Archbishop Vigano, the former papal nuncio to the U.S.. Pope Francis has so far not added to his enigmatic ‘I will not say a word about this’ on the airplane interview back from Dublin. But this will not go away, and many Catholics want answers, direct ones, a yes or a no. Vigano’s testimony reveals an incipient division in the Church, which may grow into something far worse.
I am reminded of the private revelation reported by one Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in 1973, in the remote village of Akita, Japan, wherein Our Lady prophesied, through a weeping statue, that there would be a great calamity to befall mankind, with ‘fire falling from the sky’, along with battles within the Church, shaking her to her very foundation. Pope Benedict, back when he was Cardinal Ratzinger (remember that halcyonic era?) apparently offered his own private credence to the Akita visions.
But anon. Whatever one may think, here are the reported words of Our Lady:
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. (emphasis added).
Hmm. Now, we are not bound to believe in such revelations, especially in their precise details, but they should make us ponder and pray. Their purpose is to lead us to follow and stand fast in the truth, as did the Baptist, especially in the midst of the current travails, if we but keep our eyes, and our souls, on Christ, and His Mother.
Saint John the Baptist, ora pro nobis!