Chaplet of St. John the Baptist
Today, being the commemoration of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist, I thought it would be appropriate to share his chaplet. Little has been changed to this Catholic chaplet; however, as St. John is a particularly important figure to Gnostics – especially the Mandaeans – I thought this might be a good devotion for today.
The Chaplet of St. John the Baptist consists of 7 groups of 5 beads, with a larger bead separating each group. Hanging from this circle are 3 beads, and a St. John medal, usually depicting the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan.
1. On the medal, say:
℣. Incline unto my aid, O God;
℟. O Lord, make hast to help me.
℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
2. On the first 3 beads after the medal, say:
I. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.” (Isaiah 40:1)
II. “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” (Isaiah 40:3)
III. “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great day of the Lord: and he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
3. On the central medal, pray the Benedictus (Luke 1:68-79):
Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: for he hath come to His people and set them free;
And hath raised up a mighty salvation for us: in the house of His servant David;
As He spake by the mouth of His holy Prophets: which have been since the world began;
That we should be saved from our enemies: and from the hand of all that hate us.
To perform the mercy promised to our forefathers: and to remember His holy Covenant;
To perform the oath which He swore to our forefather Abraham: that He would give us;
That we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies: might serve Him without fear;
In holiness and righteousness before Him: all the days of our life.
And thou, Child, shalt be called the Prophet of the Most High:
for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways;
To give knowledge of salvation unto His people: for the forgiveness of their sins,
Through the tender mercy of our God: whereby the day-spring from on high hath visited us;
To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death:
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
4. The First Mystery is announced (see below), followed by the Our Father:
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.
5. For each group of five beads, say:
I. “Repent ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2)
II. “There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Mark 1:7-8)
III. “Behold, the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29)
IV. “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. (John 3:29)
V. “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each of the Mysteries.
7. Back on the central medal, say the closing prayer:
O Lord Christ, whose way was prepared by St. John the Baptist, grant that through his intercession, our hearts may be prepared for Thee. May he teach us to rejoice in Thy presence, and guide us to true repentance and humility, that we may become Thy true friends and disciples. Grant that we, like St. John, may be faithful witnesses to Thee and share Thy glory forever in the Fullness. Amen.
Mysteries of the Chaplet of St. John the Baptist
1. The Visitation: “And Elizabeth spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:42-44)
2. The Birth of John the Baptist: “Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. (Luke 1:57-58)
3. The Preaching of John: “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:6-9)
4. The Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan: “Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me: The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:32-33)
5. St. John Sends the First Disciples to Jesus: “When the men were come unto him, they said, ‘John Baptist hath sent us unto Thee, saying, Art Thou He that should come, or look we for another?” (Luke 7:20)
6. The Temptation of St. John the Baptist: “Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, ‘What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written: Behold, I send my messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.’” (Matthew 11:7-10)
7. The Martyrdom of St. John the Baptist: “And Salome came in straightway with haste unto the king, and asked, saying, ‘I will that thou give me by and by in a charger the head of John the Baptist.’ And the king was exceeding sorry; yet for his oath’s sake, and for their sakes which sat with him, he would not reject her. And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison.” (Mark 6:25-26)