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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Saint Andrew the Apostle, November 30

Saint Andrew the Apostle

Saint Andrew the first called
The Apostle Andrew, who was blood-brother to Peter, was born at Bethsaida, a town of Galilee. He first became a disciple of the Baptist. But when he heard John say : Behold the Lamb of God : he straightway became a disciple of Jesus, to whom he brought his brother Peter also. Some while after, when they went fishing in the Sea of Galilee, the Lord Christ came by and called them both, before any other of the Apostles, in the words : Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Whereat without delay they left their nets, and followed him. After the death and resurrection of Christ, according to the ancient historian Eusebius, Andrew was allotted European Scythia as the province of his preaching Other ancient writers say that he went through Epirus and Thrace, and there turned many souls to Christ by his teaching and wondrous works. Finally he is said to have gone to Patras in Achaia, and to have brought many there also to the knowledge of Gospel truth. The particulars of his death were written down by the priests and deacons of Achaia, which same were eye-witnesses of his last sufferings. According to this account, when Aegeas the Proconsul resisted the preaching of the Gospel, the Apostle freely rebuked him, bidding him know that whilst he set himself up as a judge of his fellow men, he was himself in such wise deceived by evil spirits that he was unable to recognize the divine Judge of all men in the person of Christ.
And according to the aforementioned record, blessed Andrew’s martyrdom was on this wise. Aegeas answered the Apostle wrathfully, saying: Boast no more of this matter, for thy Lord Christ spake words even such as thine, but they availed him not, and he was crucified by the Jews. Whereto Andrew boldly answered that Christ of his own will had given himself up to die for man’s salvation. But the Proconsul with blasphemy interrupted him, and bade him look to his own interests ; and if he would save himself, to sacrifice to the gods. Then said Andrew : We have an altar, whereon day by day I offer up to God Almighty, the one and only true God: not the flesh of bulls nor the blood of goats, but a Lamb without spot ; and when all they that believe have eaten of the Flesh thereof, the Lamb that was slain abideth whole and liveth. Then Aegeas, filled with wrath, bound the Apostle in prison. Now the people could easily have accomplished his deliverance, were it not that he himself calmed them, and earnestly besought them not to take from him the crown of martyrdom, for which he longed, and which was drawing near.
And it is said that a short while thereafter, Andrew was brought before the judgement-seat, where he extolled the Mystery of the Cross, and again rebuked Aegeas for his ungodliness. Whereupon Aegeas would bear with him no longer, but commanded him to be crucified, in imitation of Christ. Then was Andrew led to the cross. And when as yet he saw it afar off, he cried out : O gracious cross, made so fair and goodly by the sweet body of my Lord! Long have I desired thee! Constantly have I sought thee! And now that thou art made ready, my soul is drawn to thee! Welcome me from amongst men, and join me anew to my Master, that as by thee in death he redeemed me, so by thee he may take me unto himself once and for all! So he was fastened to the cross, whereon he hung living for two whole days, during which time he ceased not to preach the Faith of Christ, and finally, passed into the presence of him the likeness of whose death he had loved so well. Under the Emperor Constantine the relicks of the Apostle were first taken to Constantinople, whence they were afterwards brought to Amalfi. But in the pontificate of Pope Pius II his head was carried to Rome, where it is kept in the Basilica of Saint Peter, that the relicks of these two blood-brothers might be nigh each other. Blessed Andrew is revered as the Patron of Scotland and Russia, and his name is twice read in the Gregorian Canon ; namely, first in the Canon proper, and secondly in the Embolism.
Antiphon of the Magnificat:
One of the two which followed the Lord was Andrew, * Simon Peter’s brother, Alleluia.
Almighty God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay : grant unto us all , that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Antiphon on the Benedictus:
And the bystanders pleaded for him: Spare this innocent man! Restore to us this holy one! Slay not him that is so dear to God! * for he is just and meek and godly.

A Homily by Saint Gregory the Pope

Dearly beloved, ye have heard how Peter and Andrew, at one word of command, left their nets, and followed their Saviour. As yet they had seen none of his miracles. As yet they had received no promise of their eternal and exceeding great reward. Nevertheless, at one word from the Lord they forgat all those things which they seemed to have. We on the contrary have seen many of his miracles. We have received many of his gracious chastenings. Many times hath he warned us of the wrath to come. How is it then that when the Lord calleth we do not follow?
Christ who calleth us to be converted is now enthroned in heaven. He hath bowed the necks of the Gentiles under the yoke of the Faith. He hath laid low the glory of the world, and the ruins thereof on all sides do preach unto us that day when he is to be revealed as our Judge is drawing nigh. Yet so stubborn is our mind that we will not freely abandon what willy nilly we are each day losing. Dearly beloved, what shall we answer at his judgement-seat, we whom no lessons can persuade and no stripes can break from the love of this present world?
Some one perchance will ask in his heart, what these two fishermen had to lose by obeying the call of the Lord? Dearly beloved, we must consider here the intention, rather than the loss incurred by this obedience. He that keepeth nothing for himself giveth up much. He that sacrificeth his all, sacrificeth what is to him a great deal. Beyond doubt, we cling to whatever we have, and what we have least, that we desire most. Peter and Andrew therefore gave up much when they gave up even the desire of possessing anything.

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