Living Wholly Off Of God

Tissot: John the Baptist With Pharisees

John the Baptist is a key figure during the Advent season because he sums up what Advent is: preparing for Jesus, the Messiah.
While John is a somewhat larger than life figure, I don't think we always give him enough thought. He becomes a kind of "given" in the scheme of our Salvation History. He's the guy who baptized the people of his and Jesus' day down by the Jordan River, and yes, he even baptized Jesus, but upon reflection, I find so much more to him.
John knew his vocation and he lived it. In fact he lived it from the time he was in Elizabeth's womb. In the presence of Jesus in Mary's womb, he leaped within Elizabeth. This may have been his first act of evangelization. His little leap led to his mother's recognition of Mary as the "Mother of my Lord" (cf. Luke 1:43) and to Mary's Magnificat. (Luke 1:46~55)
John spends most of his brief adult life living in the wilderness clothed in animal skins and living off of locusts. That, taken out of context, might make John a bit of an eccentric, but as Fr. James Torrens wrote in one of his Advent meditations: "John the Baptist was the last of the great servants preparing God's way. With his rough austerity, he had learned to live wholly off of God." (Daybreaks:Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas)
I believe that this is what John is telling us as he leads us more deeply into Advent~ that we too should learn to live wholly off of God. We don't need to live in the wilderness clothed as John was or live on a diet of locusts to do it. We can do it in how we live our everyday lives in the vocation God has called each of us to live.
Over two thousand years ago, John was telling the people of that time to prepare the way for God who would walk in their midst in the person of Jesus Christ. The message is the same for us~Jesus is still in our midst in word and sacrament and he will come again in His person at the end of time.
As my pastor said in his homily for this Sunday: our entire life is an advent. If lived according to the message of John and the message of the Gospel, we are preparing the way. We are preparing the way of the Lord in our lives, and in the lives of those who God puts in our path, and that way will lead all of us to our heavenly home.


Michael said…
Really liked this reflection on John, Karinann.

And stopped dead in my (reading) tracks when I saw your pastor's comment: "our entire life is an Advent". Wow, so true!

God Bless.
mary333 said…
This post really spoke to my heart, Karin. It's a beautiful reflection on a life of abandonment to God. Isn't this what we all are secretly (or not so secretly) longing for?
Like Michael, I loved your pastor's words that our entire life is an Advent. You can bet I'll be thinking about that tonight!

PS (I'm copying my comment before I hit publish this time. Lol!)
mary333 said…
Wow! I think my comment actually went through today! No little exclamation point/star thingie popped up!
Karinann said…
Thanks Michael and Mary.
Those words in my pastor's homily really got my attention too.
Mary, John's life and message really are about abandoning ourselves totally to God. It is what we all desire whether we realize it or not. Complete surrender will lead us to complete union with God.
Blessings to you both.
We truly can live wholly off of God even today, but not many people trust God enough to try. Wishing you a blessed Advent season, Karinann.
Colleen said…
Karinann, I love your reflection here and that quote. "Living wholly off of God" will be part of my prayer this week! Hugs and blessings!
Wow! You got St. Ann two years in a row for your patron saint. Very interesting!
Karinann said…
Elizabeth, what you say is very true. Most of us do not trust God enough to even try to do this~even with over 2000 yrs. of Salvation History behind us. Praise God for His patience with us!
Have a Blessed Advent.

Thanks Colleen.That phrase was so true of John the Baptist and of so many of the saints. St Ann was my patroness last year and the year before. I will be picking my new saint tonight with my Rachel's Vineyard group. She has taught me a lot over these two years. We'll see if she wants to make it three :)