Friday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

John the Baptist is a hard act to follow, but he is a good role model for monks. He lived in desert places (Lk 1:80).  He was a man of prayer who taught his disciples how to pray (Lk 11:1).  He fasted often (Lk 5:33), abstaining from wine and living on an austere diet of locusts and wild honey (Mk 1:6). He practiced self-renunciation saying, “He must increase and I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). He proclaimed the need to share one’s goods with the poor (Lk 3:10-14). He was truly seeking God, waiting for the One who was to come (Lk 7:18-23). He was celibate, and lived in poverty. And he was attentive to the Word of God, quoting by heart from the prophet Isaiah, “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord’ ” (Jn 1:23). From the warm safe little cell in his mother’s womb to the dark dangerous cell in Herod’s prison, John the Baptist was a monastic prophet who wept and interceded for his generation as we try to do for ours today.