August 29: The beheading of St. John the Baptist

Today is one of the feast days of one of the most important saints in the calendar, St John the Baptist.

This saint has a particular significance for Benedictines, as when he moved to Monte Cassino, St Benedict built a chapel in honour of St John the Baptist where previously had stood an altar to Apollo.

In many respects St John represents the two sides of the Benedictine charism - in his ascetic life in the desert, he points to the contemplative dimension; in his work preparing the way for Our Lord by calling the people to repentance, the active dimension.

The Vespers hymn for the feast is Deus tuorum militum sors.

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