Saturday, November 30, 2013

Advent Eve St. Andrew's Day

Today is the Feast of the Apostle St. Andrew. He was the brother of St. Peter. Andrew seems to have had a pleasant personality. He never seemed jealous of his more famous brother Peter. He who was a fisherman became a fisher of men. He was called directly by Jesus to follow him and seek to draw men and women into the net of the Faith. As Pope Francis is exhorting us Christians, we too are called to follow the example of Peter and Andrew, James and John who left their nets to follow the Lord.
St Andrew
A priest friend mentioned this morning how he imagines what the people driving near him on the roads and highways really look like. Then he prays for his fellow motorists. For me riding on public transportation, the transit system, or the Metro as it is called in the DC area, serves up a slice of real life. In the car I can't stop to hear a street person ask for a few coins. I can't hear the roar of the trains pulling in or out of the stations, Nor can I hear the fellow playing a recorder as he leans up against an office building. Neither can I hear the jazz and blues belted out by a sidewalk entertainer playing a keyboard atop enormous speakers at the subway entrance. From the car's windshield I never noticed the policemen in bullet proof vests near the subway entrance. In the comfort of our little van I had forgotten the feel of  squeezing into a subway car and holding on tight as the train lurched forward. At the airport stop, some got off, headed for a higher adventure; their plane trip to work or home. Others from the airport entered the rail car, some looked exhausted, others seemed content. Someone got up (a woman) so I could sit down. I really appreciated the chance to stop swaying. The man seated next to me seemed annoyed and morose. I feel sorry for him. He gave off a joyless vibe. Perhaps he was ill, or had experienced a bad day at work.
Scanning the faces of my fellow passengers I wanted to say "Cheer up! The Lord is near. He loves you. You have reason to smile despite your crosses."  I did not feel quite filled enough with the Holy Spirit to actually say these words: "God bless you! Smile, God loves You!"
After the rush of our current Advent/Christmas season, I highly recommend the Holy Father's new Apostolic Exhortation: Evangelium Gaudium, TheJoy of the Gospel. Our Pauline Books & Media publishing house will publish the new document in January: Gospel means good news. Each of us Christians who live our faith are living gospels. For Advent a good resolve to prepare for Christ's coming would be to have a "joy" check up every morning in front of the mirror. Am I smiling or at least serene in my appearance? Away with all crankiness and complaining. Enter peace, self-control and joy.
Have a blessed St. Andrew's Day and a super Advent!

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