Born Without Original Sin. Ate Locusts.

by | Jun 24, 2014 | June, Liturgical Year | 22 comments

Happy Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist!

Some FUN FACTS about St. John the Baptist:

Only Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist get feasts for their BIRTHdays. A saint’s feast day is usually celebrated on the day of his death, or his birth into Heaven.

This is because only those three people have ever been born without original sin. Jesus and Mary were also CONCEIVED without original sin. John the Baptist, however, was conceived as usual, with original sin. But THEN, he was baptized with a baptism of desire before his birth when he recognized Jesus as God in the womb of Mary. And leapt within his mother’s womb. So he wasn’t conceived without sin, but he was BORN without sin!
Read more here:
St. John the Baptist’s birth foreshadowed his philosophy. He was born on June 24th, just days after the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. After his birth, each day decreases, becoming shorter and shorter, until . . . you guessed it, December. Jesus was born December 25th, after which each day increases, becoming longer and longer.
Isn’t it lovely?
What are you doing tonight to celebrate? We’ll have a (little) bonfire, and maybe sparklers to play with.
And since it’s a feast, a solemnity in fact, you have to have dessert. 
We’ll be having s’mores and my Not Yet World Famous St. John the Baptist Cricket,* Almond, and Wild Honey Clusters!

*Crickets optional.
The recipe is number 5 on this post from the archives.

For more on how, and WHY we celebrate the liturgical year in our home check out this post:


  1. Nicole Cox

    Great post! I love the factoid about the days shortening. We realized a few days after our first baby was baptized last year that it was on John the Baptist's birthday!! So it'll be fun to celebrate her baptism day each year (and I'll hopefully never forget it this way!).

  2. Mia Jude

    Your post last night on FB actually urged my husband and I to do some research on JTB because we had never heard that he was born without original sin. Turns out it is not official church dogma but more of a little "t" tradition. (Please correct me if I'm wrong and direct me to some resources if so.) thanks for the post because it made my hubs and I have a long discussion on JTB! My husband is not sure he really believes that JTB is born without original sin whereas I am fine with the belief. Although my hubs def agrees that JTB is the greatest human ever other than Jesus and Mary. My hubs shares a bday with JTB today so he is pretty proud of himself! Haha.. Happy Feast Day!

    • Kendra

      Mia, I do believe it is a dogma of the church. And it's a very old teaching. In the breviary St. Augustine explains the reason for today's observance in the following words:

      "Apart from the most holy solemnity commemorating our Savior's birth, the Church keeps the birthday of no other person except that of John the Baptist. (The feasts of the Immaculate Conception and of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin had not yet been introduced.) In the case of other saints or of God's chosen ones, the Church, as you know, solemnizes the day on which they were reborn to everlasting beatitude after ending the trials of this life and gloriously triumphing over the world.

      "For all these the final day of their lives, the day on which they completed their earthly service is honored. But for John the day of his birth, the day on which he began this mortal life is likewise sacred. The reason for this is, of course, that the Lord willed to announce to men His own coming through the Baptist, lest if He appeared suddenly, they would fail to recognize Him. John represented the Old Covenant and the Law. Therefore he preceded the Redeemer, even as the Law preceded and heralded the new dispensation of grace."

      That would have been around 400AD.

      Jimmy Akin has a good post about it: John the Baptist . . . Born Without Original Sin?

    • Mia Jude

      Thanks for the references Kendra! But Jimmy even says in his article that the church doesn't officially teach this, so that would not make this church dogma right? Just trying to clarify the definition of that word I guess!

    • Mia Jude

      And what is another example of a belief that is "a pious and probable belief among Catholics" that is not church dogma. Just curious! Thanks 🙂

    • Kendra

      Oops, I missed that. Yes, I think you're right.

      It makes sense to me though! And I like the St. Augustine quote I used up there, but I meant to paste this one, which is a little more applicable:

      For when yet unborn, he leapt in his mother’s womb at the arrival of blessed Mary. In that womb he had already been designated a prophet, even before he was born; it was revealed that he was to be Christ’s precursor, before they saw one another. These are divine happenings, going beyond the limits of our human frailty. Eventually he is born, he receives his name, his father’s tongue is loosened. See how these events reflect reality.

    • Mia Jude

      I like the quote too! It makes sense to me too! My hubs loves to play "devils advocate" (which is a good thing, I think!) so we tend to disagree on some things. But hey! Maybe someday a pope will make this church dogma and we will have another awesome holy day of obligation to celebrate! Here's hoping! 😉

    • Kendra

      I just did a little more googling, and as I now understand it, the difference is between the words "doctrine" and "dogma." This is from Catholic Answers: In general, doctrine is all Church teaching in matters of faith and morals. Dogma is more narrowly defined as that part of doctrine which has been divinely revealed and which the Church has formally defined and declared to be believed as revealed.

      The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains,

      The Church’s magisterium exercises the authority it holds from Christ to the fullest extent when it defines dogmas, that is, when it proposes, in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith, truths contained in divine Revelation or also when it proposes, in a definitive way, truths having a necessary connection with these. (CCC 88)

      Concerning the Church’s teaching that Mary is the Mediatrix of All Graces, while this doctrine has been divinely revealed, it has not yet been—although could be—elevated to dogma. In Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Dr. Ludwig Ott explains, "The doctrine of Mary’s Universal Mediation of Grace based on her co-operation in the Incarnation is so definitely manifest in the sources of the faith, that nothing stands in the way of a dogmatic definition" (215).

  3. Joanne Kibbe

    You have inspired me to at least light sparklers… I was thinking this morning about how I desperately need to have something fun happening with dessert tonight but then the only thing I came up with was Oreo mudpie with worms (instead of crickets) Can you please make a master calendar with all your liturgical feast days and what you do to celebrate? That would be super helpful. Do y'all celebrate/commemorate the death of John the Baptist? We went to a parish where the priest encouraged us to not eat off of anything round plate/bowls etc that day since Herod brought his head on a platter. Sounds totally up the Tierney Alley

    • Kendra

      That's a great idea. We'll see if I can make it happen. And we do the death of John the Baptist as well. I've always wanted to serve a sheep's head. My German grandparents used to make it when I was a kid and I tell you what, that's a dish that makes an impression on a kid. But, so far, I've been overruled. I think they'd let me do the no round stuff though.

    • Anonymous

      I second the calendar thing. With all the extra time you must have, create for us an intereactive calendar with cool graphics and recipes.

    • Joanne Kibbe

      Awesome! Just for the record my 4 yr old and 2 yr old were deathly afraid of the sparklers and REFUSED to get anywhere near them… Please send your children our way so they can teach the Kibbe girls how to have fun with fire : )

    • Kendra

      That's hilarious Joanne! Kids. They're always spoiling the fun. But it really does help to have bigger kids to show them that we are not secretly trying to murder them by fire. You'd think they wouldn't but somehow they'll believe other kids over their parents!

  4. Charlotte (WaltzingM)

    We will be celebrating St. John's birthday (and my birthday too!) tonight with birthday cake and ice cream. I admit that growing up, I was more stoked about getting presents every 6 months instead of sharing my birthday with such a special saint. If your almond cricket clusters don't quite take off like you want them too, my family has always loved when I've chosen a a Grasshopper Pie or Grasshopper Parfait as a birthday treat. But you'd probably like these candy grasshoppers best.

    • Kendra

      Grasshopper pie! It's perfect! Not to mention delicious. And happy birthday to you!

  5. Patty

    I just have to tell all the religious image with your fancy pants graphics are way cool! And make wish I could create like that…LOVE the honey cluster idea; especially since Scripture tells us it was a favorite snack of the saint of the day! 😉

  6. Anonymous

    I have a son who is named in honor of St. JTB — conceived on 8/29, born on the Visitation (such an amazing beautiful labor, in which I knew Our Lady had my back the whole way through). I'll have to remember the sparkler idea for his name day next year. (I have a cookbook that claims JTB ate locust beans, also known as carob, and not actual locusts. No idea about the facts of the matter, but carob is more appealing to my vegetarian son than locusts. Link with some more info:

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Hi! I’m Kendra.

For twenty years now, I’ve been using food, prayer, and conversation based around the liturgical calendar to share the lives of the saints and the beautiful truths and traditions of our Catholic faith. My own ten children, our friends and neighbors, and people just like you have been on this journey with me.

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