Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Andrew and Peter

St. Andrew "the First-called" is greatly venerated in the East, especially by the see of Constantinople, which traces its origin to him. Andrew was Peter's brother, and undoubtedly unity between the brothers is his greatest concern. Let us therefore join with Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I and pray for unity, on this special day for churches West and East, Latin Catholic, Byzantine Catholic, and Orthodox.

I love the Kontakion for the day in the Byzantine Liturgy:

"Let us praise for his courage Andrew the Theologian, first Apostle of the Savior and brother of Peter, for in like manner as he drew his brother to Christ, he is crying out to us: 'Come, for we have found the One the world desires!'"

Note: for the East, "Theologian" does not refer to just any blockhead like me who happens to have studied and taught and written stuff about Christian doctrine and ideas. A "Theologian" is someone with a profound knowledge of God. The term is reserved for a very few. Here in the West, I put it on the profile for my blog. Oh my! Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner!

In the prayer, St. Andrew calls Jesus "the One the world desires." We have been created for Him. Our hearts are made for Him. The meaning and mysterious reality of the very impetus of life--desire--finds its fulfillment in Him.

Perhaps it sounds disappointing at first: "so the meaning of my life is this guy?"

Nathaniel understood this feeling very well. His reaction to this news was, "can anything good come out of Nazareth?" And the reply was, "Come and see!" And so the Church says today, "Come and see." And just like the first disciples, the Church does not say, "come and see how great we are." She says, "Come and see that Christ is present, here, not by virtue of us, but by virtue of His own promise."