On November 30, Catholics worldwide celebrate the feast of St. Andrew, apostle and martyr. St. Andrew is said to have spread Christianity in Russia and Asia minor after Pentecost in the first century. He was crucified by the Romans in Greece on an X-shaped cross, which is now his distinctive symbol as well as the symbol of Scotland, of which he is the patron.
Apostle († First century)
Saint Andrew was one of the fishermen of Bethsaida, and was the brother of Saint Peter. He became a disciple of Saint John the Baptist. When called himself by Christ on the banks of the Jordan, his first thought was to go in search of his brother, and he said to Peter, We have found the Messiah! and brought him to Jesus.
It was Saint Andrew who, when Christ wished to feed the five thousand in the desert, pointed out a little lad with five loaves and a few fishes. After Pentecost, Saint Andrew went forth upon his mission to plant the Faith in Scythia and Greece and, at the end of years of toil, to win a martyr’s crown at Patrae in Achaia. When Saint Andrew first caught sight of the gibbet on which he was to die, he greeted the precious wood with joy. O good cross! he cried, made beautiful by the limbs of Christ, so long desired, now so happily found! Receive me into thy arms and present me to my Master, that He who redeemed me through thee may now accept me from thee! After suffering a cruel scourging he was left, bound by cords, to die upon this diagonal cross. For two whole days the martyr remained hanging on it, alive, preaching with outstretched arms from this chair of truth, to all who came near, and entreating them not to hinder his passion.
Reflection: If we would do good to others, we must, like Saint Andrew, receive our cross with loving gratitude and not desire to be separated from it, until God so wills. To take up our cross is Jesus’ command; are we perhaps dragging ours?
(Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea.)
St Andrew’s Prayer
O Glorious St. Andrew,
you were the first to recognize and follow the Son of God.
With your friend, St. John,
you remained with Jesus,
for your entire life,
and now throughout eternity.
Just as you led your brother, St Peter,
to Christ and many others after him,
draw us also to Him.
Teach us how to lead them,
solely out of love for Jesus
and dedication to His service.
Help us to learn the lesson of the Cross
and carry our daily crosses without complaint,
so that they may carry us to God the Almighty Father. Amen.
St Andrew’s Call
Brother of Simon Peter, you heard John the Baptist say: “Behold the Lamb of God,” and you chose to follow Jesus.
Leaving your nets, you became a successful fisher of souls.
Lover of the Crucified Christ, you too were crucified like him.
Teach us to live and suffer for Him and to win many souls for Christ. Amen.
O Good Cross (O Bona Crux)
(A prayer reflecting St Andrew’s delight immediately prior to his crucifixion and death.)
“O good Cross, made beautiful by the body of the Lord: long have I desired you, ardently have I loved you, unceasingly have I sought you out and now you are ready for my eager soul. Receive me from among men and restore me to my Master, so that he who, by means of You, in dying redeemed me, may now receive me. Amen.”
… St Andrew, Pray for Us …