Monday, November 30, 2009

The First to Be Called

The Season of Light:
The Feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr

The Season of Light contains many special days recalling people who were called by the Lord. The feast of Andrew is on the cusp of the season - sometimes it falls during Advent and sometimes it doesn't.

Andrew was a disciple of John the Baptist and is attributed to have said upon seeing Jesus for the first time, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" (cf. John 1:38-40). He was instrumental in introducing his brother Simon (Peter); who would likewise follow Jesus. When the multitudes were miraculously fed, starting the Bread of Life Discourse (John 6), it was Andrew who pointed out the boy carrying the five loaves and two fish.

Following the Great Commission and the first Pentecost, Andrew ended up in Patras in Achaia (modern-day Greece). There he ran into resistance from the proconsul, Aegeas. Aegeas ultimately sentenced Andrew to death by crucifixion - but in Andrew's case, he was bound to an X-shaped cross by ropes and hung there two days before he died.

According to the ancient monastic Office of Readings:
Andrew was led to the place of martyrdom, and as soon as he saw the cross he cried out, "O precious cross, which the members of my Lord have made so honorable, how long have I desired you! How fervently have I loved you! How constantly have I sought you! And now that you have come to me, how my soul is attracted to you. Take me from here and unite me to my master, that as by you he redeemed me, so by you he may take me to himself." Then he was fastened to the cross, where he continued to live for two days, not ceasing to preach the faith of Christ. Finally, he passed into the presence of him, the likeness of whose death he had loved so well.

His life was not his own, but that of his Master.
He was put to doing and suffering, sent by Christ and ultimately laid aside for Him.
He had nothing save the Word of Christ, but in this he had everything.
And, he freely gave all, including his life, to the will of God.

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