St. Andrew’s Day: Would you drop your nets?

St Andrew

Today we celebrate the Feast of St. Andrew, the apostle who was martyred in Greece on an X-shaped cross. Coming as it does right before Advent, St. Andrew’s Day by tradition marks the end of the Church year.

We read in the Gospel at Mass today that after Christ called St. Peter and St. Andrew, the two “immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him” (Matt. 4:22).

Reading this passage, it struck me that we should ask ourselves today whether we are quite so docile as St. Andrew and St. Peter were that day on the shore.

I know I like to think that if I got a clear call from God, I would drop my nets on the spot too. But I often ask myself: would I even recognize the call?

I know like to think that, should that great moment of reckoning come one day when I’m called to make some heroic stand for faith or family, I would readily rise to the occasion. But would I recognize the moment before it passes?

More and more I’m learning that I can’t expect to follow God in the big things if I’m not following him in the little things, which is ho we build up heroic virtue. As the theologians tell us, one of the marks of heroic virtue is spontaneity, which means the tendency toward the good act is so engrained in your soul that you act almost without thinking. As the late spiritual theologian Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange wrote, “Heroic virtue is present when one practices all one’s duties with ease and spontaneity, even in particularly difficult circumstances.”

Besides some special grace, we will only be capable of making that supreme sacrifice if we’ve prepared ourselves by limitless small sacrifices along the way. Before the red martyrdom there was always first the white martyrdom.

As a priest once asked us: “How do you expect to be ready to die for the faith if you can’t even make your bed every morning?”

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This entry was posted in Liturgy.

One comment on “St. Andrew’s Day: Would you drop your nets?

  1. Mary-Liz says:

    I remember driving with my son and husband one early Sunday morning to a swim practice, when we passed by an elderly man, his back bent permanently at a 90 degree angle. He was standing in front of his house, holding a stick and trying to push compost items into a large green bin which had overturned and spilled its contents into the street. We drove past about ten feet. I spoke first, “Why don’t you turn at this next street, and I will drive to the meet, drop off our swimmer and come back for you?”. Of course my husband was already making the turn as I spoke. That was when I realized, after thirteen years of marriage, that I really had married the right man, that on our marriage covenant we had been gifted with the holy art of discernment. It was a little thing to us, but I can only guess at what it meant to that man, facing an impossible task and getting help at the right moment. Little or big, practice doing the right thing.

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