Saturday, December 4, 2010

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

Andrew, 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 do it by lecturing them on our doctrines, shaming them into belief, or condemning the world we inhabit.

Instead, I believe that no matter where our days take us, no matter how banal the tasks before us seem, we must strive to exude love, the kind of forgiving merciful love saints personify, the kind of powerful unquenchable love that comes only from Christ.

When he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, The Holy Father (considerably more literate than I) said this about the attractiveness of the Christian path:

"Is there anyone who does not know Dostoyevsky's often quoted sentence. 'The Beautiful will save us?' However, people usually forget that Dostoyevsky is referring here to the redeeming Beauty of Christ.

We must learn to see Him.

If we know Him, not only in words, but if we are struck by the arrow of his paradoxical beauty, then we will truly know him, and know him not only because we have heard others speak about him. Then we will have found the beauty of Truth, of the Truth that redeems. Nothing can bring us into close contact with the beauty of Christ himself other than the world of beauty created by faith and light that shines out from the faces of the saints, through whom his own light becomes visible.

Let us consider how we can be the hands, feet and face of Christ to others as we pray the Christmas Novena today.