Friday 14 February 2020

Saint John the Baptist - J.B. Midgley

Saint John the Baptist
Saint Austin Press
ISBN 1901157377
ISBN 9781901157376

This was the 11th books by J.B. Midgley I have read over the last few months. It is the first that was not published by the Catholic Truth Society. I have been trying to track down and read all the books by Midgley. This is one of 2 not published by the CTS. From what I can find it looks like this book is out of print, and the publisher’s website has been suspended. I found one other book in this series ‘Lives of the Saints’ that I want to track down and read. This was an interesting book. In some was it was more academic than the previous 10 I have read by Midgley. The description on the back of the book, after a quote of Matthew 11:7-11 is:

“Who is Saint John the Baptist? What is his role in our salvation? What is his message for our world, and how can we honour and imitate this great and holy saint as we should?

In this beautiful, devotional account Barry Midgley takes us through the ancient prophecies concerning the saint, the circumstances of his birth, his ministry and his martyrdom. 

Using scripture and the liturgy as his central focus, the author paints a vivid and inspiring portrait of a hero of the Christian faith who is often sadly overlooked, but whose message of hope is vital for our modern world.”

Midgley uses eight different resources and sources for his research in preparing this work. These include The Jerusalem Bible, The Catechism of the Catholic Church, The Divine Office, and five different commentaries or books about the bible. The book also includes 4 reproductions of classic artwork Saint John the Baptist or events in his life. The contents of this volume are:

Preface – Bishop Peter Smith
Three of John’s Predecessors
The Parents of John the Baptist
John’s Early Life
John’s Public Life
John Baptises
John Lays Down his Life For His Messiah
Devotion to Saint John the Baptist
Sources and References

In the introduction we are told by Bishop Peter Smith:

“John is a fascinating figure who stands between the Old and New Testament periods, and who stands between Jesus’ hidden life and his public ministry. He is charismatic figure whose rigorous preaching of baptism and repentance dominates the beginning of the Gospel. Jesus himself held John in great regard and refers to him as ‘more than a prophet’.”

This books then expands upon those aforementioned themes. First, we look at forerunners to John from the prophets. We are given Elijah, Isaiah, and Malachi as examples. And then we enter into the annunciation of John and of Jesus. A fair bit of time is spent on John’s parents and the time from the announcement till his birth. This section ends with John’s first meeting with Jesus in the wombs. 

From there we have the chapters on his early life. And his public ministry. The chapter on devotion to saint John the Baptist compares and contrasts how John is venerated in the east and the west. And the volume concludes with four hymns, poems, or prayers to the saint. It is a small volume with 45 pages of text. It is a great little read. 

I have been able to find a few other titles in this series. All well out of my price point. But I am very thankful to have tracked down and read this volume. 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan

Books by J.B. Midgley:

Advent & Christmastide with the Saints
Antonio Rosmini
Benedict - Patron of Europe
Bernard of Clairvaux – CTS Great Saints
Charles Borromeo  - CTS Great Saints
Companion to St. Joseph
Companion to the Feasts of Mary
Companion to Saint Peter
Companion to Saint Paul
Companion to the Angels
Companion to the Feasts of Our Lord
Companion to the Passion of Our Lord
Dominic - CTS Great Saints
George: Patron of England - CTS Great Saints
Dewi Sant: St David Patron of Wales
Francis de Sales – CTS Great Saints
John Baptist de La Salle – CTS Great Saints
John Vianney – CTS Great Saints
Lent with the Saints
Nurturing the Young
Robert Bellarmine
Saint John the Baptist 
Stations of the Cross and Resurrection with the Saints
The Eucharist with the Saints
The Four Evangelists
Thomas Becket – CTS Saints of the Isles
Vincent de Paul – CTS Great Saints
Witchcraft, Sorcery and Magic

Contributed to:
First Fridays and First Saturdays The Devotions Explained 

Books in the Lives of the Saints series from Saint Austin Press:
Saint John the Baptist – J.B. Midgley
Poverty My Riches: Study of St.Elizabeth of Hungary - Elizabeth Ruth Obbard
Augustine of Canterbury - Margaret Deanesly
Life of St. Edward the Confessor by Aelred of Rievaulx – St. Aelrod of Rievaulx
Saint Anselm - Michael Green

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