2008 Archive:

Feast of St. Andrew (2008)
Feast of St. Hubert (2008)

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XXX Novembris A.D. MMVIII
Festum Sancti Andreae

Dear Brethren in Christ,

Today we celebrate a feast of particular importance to Scotland, Greece, Romania, Amalfi, Malta, and Russia, that of St. Andrew the Apostle. Indeed, the symbol of Scotland displayed in the flag is the St. Andrew's Cross. The Introit for today's mass, taken from Psalm 139, says "Lord, thou hast searched me out." It is most appropriate for St. Andrew, for as told in the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Christ searched him out and called him into service. Andrew, the younger brother of Simon Peter, was a fisherman and was working along side his brother when Jesus came and said "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Without hesitation, they followed our Lord.

As his older brother would head the See of Rome and be predecessor of all Popes, he founded the See of Byzantium (later Constantinople), the seat of the Greek Orthodox Church. He is the Patron Saint there, as well as in Russia, where he travelled to preach. He was martyred on the X-shape cross that would come to bear his name.

St. Andrew followed our Lord's call without hesitation. He continued in loyal service to his end in martyrdom. How many of us would put away all that we were doing in this busy world of today and follow in the service of God? We are not all called to such service, yet we are all called to be devoted to Christ; to commit our whole self to doing the will of God and following Christ, regardless of what vocations and callings we have in life.

Pro Deo et Maria,

 Rutherford Johnson
Bishop of the Southwest


III Novembris A.D. MMVIII
Festum Sancti Huberti

 Dear Brethren in Christ,

 St. Hubert, the son of the Duke d’Aquitaine, was a member of the Royal Court, and as was the case with most in the Court, he was addicted to the hunt. It is, of course, for this reason that St. Hubert is the Patron Saint of Hunting, and each year foxhunts and stag hunts around the globe invoke his name in the annual Blessing of the Hounds.

 After St. Hubert was consecrated to the episcopate, he turned his hunting skills to the works of the Church. In his time, perhaps even as today, there were many ungodly influences at work. Chasing down the pagans as if riding to hounds, he spent much effort in evangelizing to the un-churched from the Ardennes to the Rhine. Instead of a kill, though, his hunt ended with the conversion of many souls to the Holy Church.

 He accomplished this feat though his great eloquence in the pulpit, for which he enjoyed quite a reputation. His oratory skills were as important in his evangelical efforts as skill in the saddle was to his early hunting as a youth.

 Skill alone, though, is not enough to make a successful hunt. A foxhunter who is the most masterful horseman, yet lacks the patience to spend long periods of time at a walk or trot, waiting for the hounds to find the scent, or who lacks the dedication the ride hard at a full gallop over fences will never see the end of the chase.

 Similarly, a priest who possesses great skills, such as in oration or in dealing with people, will be limited in the possibility of accomplishment unless it is accompanied by sincere devotion. St. Hubert was not only known for skill, but also for his devotion to prayer and fasting. It is this devotion to God that made him so effective in his application of his considerable gifts to the greater glory of the Lord and of his Holy Church. Without such devotion, no priest can begin to fulfill his duty, no matter the magnitude of gifts which he may possess.

 This necessity for devotion, though, is hardly limited to the clergy. All Christians form the collective body of the Faithful. Each person’s life has a purpose (and often more than one purpose). Fulfilling that purpose, even with an array of gifts and talents, is impossible, or at least incomplete, without the assistance of God. That assistance tends to come in direct proportion to the amount of devotion a person shows to God. Pray to God for divine assistance in all that you do. Consider what you need help for now, but do not neglect the long term, particularly in understanding what the long term should be. Pray to Mary, to St. Hubert on this, his Feast Day, and to all the Saints to pray to God for you from their Heavenly seats that you may receive all the assistance that you need.

  Pro Deo et Maria,

 Rutherford Johnson
Bishop of the Southwest

 


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