Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Beheading of St John the Baptist 2019

Truly is is fitting and just, right and profitable to salvation, that we should give Thee thanks, o Lord almighty, and bless Thee at every time, and praise Thee especially on this day’s festivity, on which the blessed John the Baptist acquired the crown of martyrdom, even he than whom there hath been none greater among those born of woman. By prohibiting an illicit marriage, he obtained the glorious triumph of martyrdom when he was beheaded; in his bodily presence, he showed that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, had come, and, going before Him, also proclaimed His descent to those below (i.e., in the limbo of the Fathers). And therefore... (The Ambrosian Preface for the Beheading of St John the Baptist.)

The Head of St John the Baptist Presented to Salome, by the Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, ca. 1640; now in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. – Fabritius, born in 1622, studied with Rembrandt, and was considered one of his best pupils. In about 1650, he moved to Delft, where he was killed on Oct. 12, 1654, in the incident known as the ‘Delft Thunderclap’, the explosion of a gunpowder magazine which leveled about a quarter of the city. Fabritius’ studio was destroyed, along with most of his paintings; this is perhaps the earliest of his surviving works, which number only about a dozen.
Vere quia dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi, omnipotens Domine, gratias agere: teque omni tempore benedicere, et in hujus praecipue festivitate diei laudare. In quo beatus Ioannes Baptista martyrii coronam est adeptus: quo inter natos maior nemo exstitit mulierum. Nuptias prohibendo illicitas, gloriosum martyrii triumphum capite truncatus obtinuit: et Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum mundi Salvatorem venisse corporali præsentia demonstravit, eius quoque descensionem praecurrens inferis nunciavit. Et ideo...

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