The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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A note on the birth of John the Baptist

Canisius | 27 May, 2007 15:49

This is not relevant to our point in the liturgical year, but I wanted to jot it down while it was on my mind. I have been digging into Raymond Brown’s commentary on John, and to my surprise I find it very rewarding. Just today I ran across this liturgical nugget in Brown’s commentary on John 30, “He must increase, but I must decrease”:

This verse has played a significant role in the tradition concerning John the Baptist. Just as the birthday of Jesus was fixed at December 25, the time of the winter solstice after which the days grow longer (the light has come into the world; he must increase), so John the Baptist’s birthday was fixed at June 24, the time of the summer solstice after which the days grow shorter (he was not the light; he must decrease). The two Greek verbs in vs. 30 are also used for the waxing and the waning of the light of heavenly bodies.

- Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John: i-xii (Anchor Bible 29; Doubleday: Garden City, 1966), 153.

In The Liturgical Year, June 24 falls in a volume that Dom Gueranger did not write. I skimmed the entry for June 24 (XII,229-270), but I did not see any mention of the summer solstice. Brown’s note seems a worthy addition to Gueranger’s comments on the winter solstice in connection with the mystery of Christmas (II,6-14).


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