As forerunner of our Lord’s birth, preaching and death, the blessed John showed in his struggle a goodness worthy of the sight of heaven. In the words of Scripture: Though in the sight of men he suffered torments, his hope is full of immortality. We justly commemorate the day of his birth with a joyful celebration, a day which he himself made festive for us through his suffering and which he adorned with the crimson splendor of his own blood. We do rightly revere his memory with joyful hearts, for he stamped with the seal of martyrdom the testimony which he delivered on behalf of our Lord.

Saint Bede the Venerable
Office of Readings

In an era where nihilism is prevalent, hearing that someone is full of hope for immortality is striking. What does Saint Bede mean? We know from experience that the life we live is full of contradictions and divisions in mind and heart. But we have today a man who knows his humanity and the truth of a promise that only Someone else can make good. Losing one’s head in this world allows for the soul to truly live in the next.