Today is a “Red Letter Day.” You’ve probably heard that expression but may not know its origins.
During the Dark and Middle Ages, the Church was primarily responsible for preserving what knowledge there was. It was the monastics of those times who painstakingly copied the accumulated wisdom of Western Europe.
Of course, many of these were Church documents such as the Roman Missal. The Missal was the delineation of the Feasts and Fasts that the Church observed through the liturgical year. This included the days on which those whom the Church recognized as saints were remembered in the liturgy and in the Divine Office.
Very few saints are observed more than once in the course of the liturgical year – normally on the day of their death (their re-birth into a new life in Heaven). One of those who is observed twice is St. John the Baptist – and today is the day of his Nativity, June 24th.
In order to make certain that the reader of the Roman Missal could not fail to note days of great importance, the monks inscribed the beginning letter of solemn and important feasts in red ink – hence our term, “Red Letter Day.”
As you know, John the Baptist met his death because he refused to renounce his principles and is the inspiration for today’s (Not Yet) Famous Quote:
“Hatred destroys the person harboring it, long before it ruins it’s intended victim.”