Wednesday, December 1, 2010

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 painting of Saint John the Baptist preaching)  John the Baptist was a charismatic preacher who had lived in the desert the life of an ascetic and during his public ministry rebuked the leaders of the Pharisees and Sadducees for their hypocrisy and sin. And so we understand that Andrew, like many who followed the Baptist, was a man in search of truth.

Unlike many false prophets of that time John the Baptist never said he was the Messiah; instead he told the followers he baptized in the River Jordan:

I indeed baptize you with water; but there shall come one mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to loose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in his hand and he will purge his floor; and will gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire." 

Scripture tells us that John the Baptist was a holy man who had spent time in the desert before emerging for his public ministry. His preaching was intense: he rebuked those living in sin and his words carried weight because he lived austerely. We come to understand then, that Saint Andrew was unafraid of those who critiqued the society in which he was living; he was seeking an understanding of the world beyond its temporal powers.

As we await the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ, let's give thanks to God, who willed Saint Andrew into being.

See the original post for the Christmas novena prayer.