Collect: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”
Feast Days and Saints Days:
Christ the King Sunday
Instituted in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, Christ the King Sunday is a relatively new feast day. On this day, the last Sunday of the liturgical year, we see the culmination of the church year in a celebration of Christ as the King of all. Pope Pius described the importance of this feast:
“If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God.”
Friday, November 30: St. Andrew the Apostle
The last saint we celebrate in this church year is the first called apostle, or, the “protoclete” (“first-called”) as the Greeks called St. Andrew the Apostle. Andrew was Simon Peter’s brother– they both came from Bethsaida in Galilee. Andrew had been following John the Baptist when John pointed out Jesus and said “Behold, the Lamb of God.” Hearing John, Andrew and another disciple tried to catch up with Jesus. Jesus turned around and said, “What are you looking for?” Andrew and the other disciple replied,”Where are you staying?” and Jesus replied, “Come and see.” After spending two hours listening to Jesus, Andrew ran to find Simon Peter and said “We have found the Messiah!” When Jesus formalized the “Twelve,” Andrew and Peter were among the first he called. Andrew brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus at the feeding of the five thousand, as well as the Greeks (along with Philip) who wanted to see Jesus.
Tradition has it that Andrew’s ministry was focused in Greece. He was martyred there by being tied to a cross (not nailed). After preaching for two days from the cross, some people came to release him, but he begged to stay on the cross. This is purported to be his prayer (quoted by St. Augustine):
“Lord, do not let me come down alive! It is time for you to entrust my body to the earth. You entrusted it to me, and I have carried it so long and watched over it and worked so hard, and now I long to be discharged of this obedience and relieved of his burdensome garment. I think of how I have labored to carry its weight, to control its unruliness, to support its weakness, to compel its slow responses. You know, O Lord. . . how many and how grave pains it has inflicted on me. O most kind Father, I have resisted the assaults of this body for so long and with your help I have mastered it. Just and loving Rewarder, I beg of you not to leave it any longer in my care! I give back what you entrusted to me. Commend it to the earth so that I will not have to take care of it, and it will not curb or hamper me, because I am thirsting to come freely to you, my inexhaustible source of life and joy.”
Tradition has it that after St. Andrew had finished this prayer, a bright light enveloped him for a half hour and after it dimmed, he died.
- New post this week on simple daily Advent practices — an overview of Advent basics.
- For Advent: This post on Advent Plans gives an overview of all the resources that we have available on the Homely Hours. Here is a list.
Books to Buy or Borrow:
- Here are some of our favorite Advent/Christmas books (though we are in the midst of adding and updating this post).