04 December 2005

Holy Finger-Pointing

Finger-pointing isn't always a bad thing. In paintings and icons, St. John the Baptist is often depicted with his arm outstretched and his finger in a pointed position (when his is not busy baptizing, that is!) His whole posture, as he is "painted" in the Gospels is one of pointing: he points his disciples away from himself and toward Christ. Surely this intriguing figure could have amassed quite a group of followers, as the Gospels suggest. Instead, he directs them toward Christ. What a noble and worthy work! For many, Advent is a time of busyness, littered with deadlines and punctuated with an often too-short Christmas break from work or school. We can take our cue from this great herald and point others toward Christ. We can, by our words and deeds, show a posture of tranquil waiting, amid the inevitable busyness of this season; we can be heralds for those with whom we work, those in our family, those we encounter on a daily basis. Good things are contagious. Good posture is as good for the body as it is for the soul.
"True servants of God preach and teach those whom they guide only so as to lead them to God, as much by their words as by their works. This is what St. John does today."
St. Francis de Sales
(Sermon for the Second Sunday of Advent 6 December 1620 )

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