30 November 2022

Bishop Challoner's Meditations - November 30th


Consider first, the lessons we are to learn from the example of this great saint. St. Andrew, before he came to Christ, was a disciple of St. John the Baptist, (John I. 35, 40,) trained up to devotion and penance in that excellent school of the great forerunner of our Lord. See, my soul, the great advantages of early piety and of a saint-like education! 'It is good for man,' saith the prophet, 'when he hath borne the yoke from his youth,' Lament. iii. 27. And it is a proverb, saith Solomon, Prov. xxi. 6, 'train a young man according to his way; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.' St John, the true friend of the bridegroom, who sought not his own honour and glory, but the spiritual advantage of his disciples, directed them to Jesus. St. Andrew and another heard him saying of our Lord, 'Behold the Lamb of God!' and they presently followed him, and accompanied him to the place of his abode, and there they stayed with him that day. O! what entertainment did he give them! O! what heavenly conversation did they there enjoy! Christians, see you take care to fit up a lodging for Christ in your own interior, and invite him in thither, and entertain him there by the exercise of recollection and of mental prayer, and you may also be so happy as to relish the admirable sweetness of his divine conversation.

Consider 2ndly, that St. Andrew had no sooner found Christ himself, but he endeavourer immediately to impart the same happiness to his brother Simon, and forthwith brought him to our Lord! Happy they who having found Jesus, and relished his sweetness, endeavour, like St. Andrew, to bring their brethren also to him, according to that of the Scripture, (Apoc. xiii. 17,) 'let him that heareth, say, Come; i.e., let him that heareth the sweet voice and invitation of the Spirit of God in his own soul, calling him to Christ, invite as many others as he can, and bring them along with him. But though these two brothers began now to be acquainted with our Lord, and to believe in him, they had not as yet left all to follow him. This grace was reserved for another time; when, as we read, (Matt. iv. 18,) 'Jesus walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, (for they were fisherman,) and he saith to them: Come after me, and I will make you to be fishers of men; and they, immediately leaving their nets, followed him.' Learn, Christians, from this example a ready correspondence with the calls and graces of God, even though he should call upon you to leave all you possess, and to follow him--how much more when he calls for a much easier sacrifice, such as the giving up for the love of him some petty toy or worldly bauble which has taken possession of your heart. Alas! the affections to these fooleries are like nets, from which you must be disengaged, before you can truly follow Christ.

Consider 3rdly, that from this time St. Andrew kept close to our Lord as his individual companion and disciple; and after his ascension into heaven, employed his whole life in propagating by his labours, by his preaching, and by his miracles, the glory of his master's name and his blessed kingdom, and in procuring salvation for innumerable souls. Neither did he cease till, after many sufferings and tribulations, (the usual portion of the disciples of Christ,) he laid down his life for the love of his Lord, following him faithfully and constantly unto death, even the death of the cross. But oh! with what affection did he salute the cross prepared for him, when according to the acts of his martyrdom, coming within sight of that happy instrument, which was to send him to his God, he cried out: 'O good Cross, which has received beauty and glory from bearing the body of my Lord! O Cross which I have long desired, tenderly loved, and continually sought after, and which now at length art here prepared to satisfy my longing soul: receive me now into thy embraces; take me away from amongst mortals, and conduct me to my master; that through thee he may receive me, who redeemed me by dying on thee.' Christians, what are your dispositions in regard to the cross prepared for you? There is no going to heaven for you by any other way than that of the cross. Are you sensible of this? Do you, like St. Andrew, lovingly embrace this blessed instrument which is to bring you to your God and to a happy eternity? Two considerations in particular recommended the cross to St. Andrew as the object of his affections and love: viz., the example of his master, who had sanctified the cross by his own sufferings and death; and the cross being the sovereign means of divine appointment to bring him to his master, and to unite him eternally to him. O! let the like considerations recommend the cross also to your love and affection. 

Conclude to labour to imitate the virtues of St. Andrew, more especially his early piety, his attention to all the divine calls, his ready correspondence with the grace of God, his constant adhesion to Christ, and his dedicating his whole life to his love and service, and the pious dispositions of his soul with relation to the cross. There is no better way of honouring the saints than by endeavoring to be saints by an imitation of their lives.

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