(For some reason, I forgot to post this on the Feast of St. Andrew. Ah well, here it is:)
November 30th was the feast of St. Andrew, who seems to have a gift for bringing people to Jesus. St. John records that it was St. Andrew who brought his brother, St. Peter, to Christ, saying to him, “We have found the Messiah”. (1:40-41) When the problem arose of feeding the multitude, it was St. Andrew who brought up the laughably tiny answer to the massive size of the problem, “Well . . . there is a boy with two fishes and five loaves . . . ” (6:9) Jesus takes this suggestion and, well, you know the rest of the story. Later, St. Philip and St. Andrew bring to Jesus, the Greeks who said, “We want to see Jesus”. (12:22) It seems that this was St. Andrew’s specialty and other than these stories, little is known of St. Andrew from the biblical account.
The stories surrounding his martyrdom are quite moving. The story of his martyrdom is contained in the apocryphal Acts of Andrew, which was considered heretical when St. Gregory of Tours took the stories and cleaned them up, so to speak and it is probably this version that several quote (including St. Bernard of Clairvaux). For me, what is most moving is a little soliloquy that St. Andrew said to the cross that had been prepared for him,
O good cross, which hast received comeliness and beauty from the limbs of the Lord; O much longed for, and earnestly desired, and fervently sought after, and already prepared beforehand for my soul longing for you, take me away from men, and restore me to my Master, in order that through you He may accept me who through you has redeemed me.
The Saint goes onto say, “O blessed cross! Without the longing for you, no one enters into [paradise]!” To St. Andrew, the cross was not something to be avoided, to be cured or be “gotten over”, but it is something to be embraced!
St. Andrew, pray for us!