Feast of Saint Andrew – November 30th – Option 1 – Mt 4:18-22
Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Andrew, apostle. As he was out fishing with his brother Peter, he heard Christ call and tell him, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” That call to be an apostle would dominate the rest of his life, and we could say the same for our lives: Christ calls each of us to follow Him, spreading the Good News to those around us.
Spreading the Gospel today presents special challenges; we live in a world that’s full of sensations and pleasures, noise and instant gratification. In the first reading, though, we heard Saint Paul’s words to the Romans, reminding them how important it is to spread the Good News. He ends with a quote from the prophet Isaiah, which we do well to consider: “As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!” “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!”
We live in a world that is obsessed with beauty, or, at least with what it thinks is beautiful. People want to look young, fashionable, and attractive. This might be something that we seldom think about, but what is most beautiful of all is the truth, and the beautiful things that we see in this world are meant to draw us to what which is most beautiful of all: God Himself.
In his letter to artists, Pope Saint John Paul II quoted the Russian author Dostoyevsky, who said, “Beauty will save the world.” “Beauty will save the world.” It’s an interesting thought, and, explaining what that means, the saint wrote: “Beauty is a key to the mystery and a call to transcendence. It is an invitation to savor life and to dream of the future. That is why the beauty of created things can never fully satisfy. It stirs that hidden nostalgia for God which a lover of beauty like Saint Augustine could express in incomparable terms: ‘Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you!’”
When we see something beautiful, especially in religious art, our minds are drawn to what is above, to the source of all beauty. Beauty catches our attention, or, as Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “it gives man a healthy ‘shock,’ it draws him out of himself, wrenches him away from resignation and from being content with the humdrum – it even makes him suffer, piercing him like a dart, but in so doing it ‘reawakens’ him, opening afresh the eyes of his heart and mind, giving him wings, carrying him aloft.” The beautiful things of this world always leave us longing for more, but “in so doing it reminds us of our final destiny, it sets us back on our path, fills us with new hope, gives us the courage to live to the full the unique gift of life.” This is why “beauty will save the world,” since beauty is one of the few things that still catches our attention, and, if we really reflect, it will bring us back to God.
It’s worth noting that the saints are often described as beautiful when at prayer or even in general, and the Queen of them all, the Blessed Virgin Mary, is almost always described in apparitions as “extremely beautiful.” Indeed, when asked what Mary looked like, Saint Bernadette replied, “Mary is so beautiful, that to see her again, one would be willing to die.” “Mary is so beautiful, that to see her again, one would be willing to die.” That beauty follows from her closeness to God, and so we ask, through her intercession and that of Saint Andrew, for the grace to imitate her in her love for God, and draw souls to Christ.
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