|Saint Andrew Patron of Scotland|
Solemnity 30th November
30 November Saint Andrew
The Story of St Andrew
A long, long time ago in Galilee a fisherman called Andrew spent his days fishing. One day he heard a man call out from the bank, “Follow me!” That man was Jesus of Nazareth and Andrew immediately lay down his nets and became one of Jesus’ twelve Disciples.
Andrew watched Jesus perform many miracles. It was Andrew who first spoke to the boy who offered to share his five loaves and two fishes with Jesus at the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus managed to feed all five thousand people from only the food the boy had shared.
After Jesus died Andrew preached Christianity throughout Poland, Russia and Greece. It was in Greece that Andrew was crucified on an X shaped cross as he thought himself unworthy of dying on an vertical cross like Jesus.
Time passed, a monk called Regulus, or Rule was watching over St Andrew’s bones. The story goes that an angel appeared to Rule and told him to take the relics to the far West. The journey was long and arduous and Rule was shipwrecked on the east coast of Scotland in the place where the town of St Andrews now stands.
Over the centuries St Andrew became important to the Scottish people. This is why the X shape of his cross, or saltire, is part of the Scottish flag. St Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland about a thousand years ago.
And St Andrew’s day continues to be celebrated on the 30th November each year.
From a sermon by John Henry Newman
(Parochial and Plain Sermons, volume 2, pages 3-5.9)
- Little is known of Saint Andrew. He is said to have preached the gospel in Scythia; and he was at length martyred in Achaia. His death was by crucifixion; that kind of cross being used, according to the tradition, which still goes by his name.
- Yet, little as scripture tells us concerning him, it affords us enough for a lesson, and that an important one. These are the facts before us. Saint Andrew was the first convert among the apostles; he was especially in our Lord's confidence; thrice is he described as introducing others to him; lastly, he is little known in history, while the place of dignity and the name of highest renown have been allotted to his brother Simon, whom he was the means of bringing to the knowledge of his Savior.
- Our lesson, then, is this: that those men are not necessarily the most useful men in their generation, nor the most favored by God, who make the most noise in the world, and who seem to be principals in the great changes and events recorded in history; on the contrary, that even when we are able to point to a certain number of men as the real instruments of any great blessings vouchsafed to mankind, our relative estimate of them, one with another, is often very erroneous: so that, on the whole, if we would trace truly the hand of God in human affairs, and pursue his bounty as displayed in the world to its original sources, we must unlearn our admiration of the powerful and distinguished, our reliance on the opinion of society, our respect for the decisions of the learned or the multitude, and turn our eyes to private life, watching in all we read or witness for the true signs of God's presence, the graces of personal holiness manifested in his elect; which, weak as they may seem to mankind, are mighty through God, and have an influence upon the course of his providence, and bring about great events in the world at large, when the wisdom and strength of the natural man are of no avail.
- Andrew is scarcely known except by name; while Peter has ever held the place of honor all over the Church; yet Andrew brought Peter to Christ. And are not the blessed angels unknown to the world? and is not God himself, the author of all good, hid from mankind at large, partially manifested and poorly glorified in a few scattered servants here and there? and his Spirit, do we know whence it cometh, and whither it goeth? and though he has taught p1en whatever there has been of wisdom among them from the beginning, yet when he came on earth in visible form, even then it was said of him, The world knew him not. His marvelous providence works beneath a veil, which speaks but an untrue language; and to see him who is the truth and the life, we must stoop underneath it, and so in our turn hide ourselves from the world.
A Word in Season, Monastic Lectionary, IV, Augustinian Press, 1991