For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 10

Feast of Saint Juan Diego   On this, the tenth day of the Christmas Novena, it strikes me that the intention that I have been praying for up to now is too selfish, too self-centered to even be worthwhile to continue to ask God for.Instead, I am compelled to pray for a different intention; one for our brothers and sisters in the world who are being persecuted for Our Faith.What prompted the change of heart is a nagging feeling I… Read more

For Help Reading Maps Correctly

I have a friend who can’t understand why I enjoy being a Catholic. From discussions I have had with him, it appears that he believes I am now enslaved by an organization that is run by a tyrant who bears the title of “Pope.” I reckon that his libertarian tendencies bristle at the very idea of submitting to an authority, even if that authority is ordained  and conferred by Christ Himself. Now before you go and start thinking Frank is… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 7

Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra Call me dangerously distracted, but not until I saw this lovely acrylic painting by Roger Hutchison, a parishioner at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia, South Carolina, did I realize why the Saint Andrew’s Christmas Novena also is a novena for couples trying to conceive. How obvious this now all seems.Mary, a poor unwed teenager, spent the weeks before Christmas Day anticipating the birth of her son, a son conceived “by the Holy Ghost and born of… Read more

Because I’ve Been Struggling with “the Kingdom Of Heaven is At Hand”

Second Sunday of AdventDear readers,I’m struggling with something. When you’re done reading my diatribe, will you let me know your thoughts?Here we are, the second Sunday of Advent and the Gospel reading recounts how John the Baptist preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” I understand what this means on a chronological level. John is prophesizing that the Messiah is coming. But why does Christ then tell his Apostles to tell people the very same thing? “From… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 6

As a lifelong Catholic, I have heard a lot and read a lot about Christ calling his apostles, ordinary Jewish fishermen plying their trade on the Sea of Galilee, to be “fishers of men.” The vocations of apostles, such as Saint Andrew, and their successors, our priests, are to draw us to Christ. But in many corners of the globe, including the Philippines, Brazil and in the United States, the Church faces a dire shortage of priests even as the… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 5

Feast of Saint John of DamascusAndrew, who recognized Christ as the Messiah, immediately shared this revelation with his brother Peter. The Gospel of John says simply: “And he brought him to Jesus.”Both brothers – Saint Andrew and Saint Peter – became Apostles. Could they have imagined then that they both would be martyred for their faith?How did this meeting happen? What was it about Andrew that drew Peter to Christ? How do we Christians attract nonbelievers to Christ? We can’t… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 4

Feast of St. Francis Xavier What’s in a name? Upon Our Lord’s first meeting with Andrews’ brother Simon, in John chapter 1, He says Simon’s name will be changed. This is how the scene unfolds,The next day again John (the Baptist) stood, and two of his disciples. And beholding Jesus walking, he saith: Behold the Lamb of God. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turning, and seeing them following him, saith to them: What… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 3

Two brothers were hard at work in their fishing boats in the Sea of Galilee. Maybe they were mending their nets. Maybe they were bickering over who had done more work the day before. A man walks along the shoreline. Do they know him? Maybe. After all, he’s a carpenter. Maybe he had helped them repair their boats. Or maybe he is a stranger to them. We do not know. The man calls to them.”And Andrew, the brother of Simon… Read more

Glad with Morning Light (A Few Words for Wednesday)

Within Charles Dickens’ searing, socially realistic novel, The Old Curiosity Shop, he offers us luminous writing about the beauty of the natural world. The story he tells is tragic; it’s the tale of a young and virtuous orphan, Little Nell, who dies on a journey with her grandfather to escape their misfortune in London. Soon after she dies, her grandfather does too. Because it now is Advent, I am drawn to images of light. This  passage, from Chapter 15, speaks to… Read more

For the Love of Saint Andrew: A Christmas Novena, Day 2

Sacred scripture tells us little of the life of Christ’s first disciple. Perhaps this is a good thing. Instead of being handed a long narrative about this holy man, we are left to wonder, to contemplate on the man who was the first to follow Christ.Before he became devoted to Christ, Saint Andrew was a follower of Saint John the Baptist, a cousin of and the Precursor to Christ and the last of the prophets. (Here is Renaissance master Raphael’s… Read more