St. John the Baptist’s death was a courageous one, as he stood up for the truth and did not back down. It is this heroic sanctity that the Church honors on the feast of his beheading.
Pope Benedict XVI reflected on this reality in a general audience in 2012.
Dear brothers and sisters, celebrating the martyrdom of St John the Baptist reminds us too, Christians of this time, that with love for Christ, for his words and for the Truth, we cannot stoop to compromises. The Truth is Truth; there are no compromises. Christian life demands, so to speak, the “martyrdom” of daily fidelity to the Gospel, the courage, that is, to let Christ grow within us and let him be the One who guides our thought and our actions.
This daily “martyrdom” is not easy, and Pope Benedict XVI explains that it can only be achieved through a deep prayer life.
However, this can happen in our life only if we have a solid relationship with God. Prayer is not time wasted, it does not take away time from our activities, even apostolic activities, but exactly the opposite is true: only if we are able to have a faithful, constant and trusting life of prayer will God himself give us the ability and strength to live happily and serenely, to surmount difficulties and to witness courageously to him.
As we go about our daily lives, may we keep St. John the Baptist’s example in mind and stay close to Christ, who is our strength.