Word of praise at the Feast of Saint Andrew the Apostle – Pious Athanasios the Great

1. Seeing this brilliant flock of the spirit and throwing my apostolic rod in the really calm and waveless sea I remember the mastering voice which cries:

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”[1].

Oh, word with great power. Oh, words certified by deeds. Oh, true promise which strengthens day by day? Whose is this wondrous fishing?

Who is that one who gathered now this great feast, who else but Saint Andrew the great apostle of course; that one who spread the nets of the tongue and remembrance to fill this small holy boat with the helms of the apostleship, guiding this ark to heaven. Which are the first captures? Which are the catches of the toil? They are those who wear the brilliant garment of holiness by virtues. The first ones stretched their apostolic arms and caught for salvation those from the outside who were astray. Although the present feast is an occasion to celebrate this great apostle Andrew, however the whole assembly of apostles is honored with him; as the grace united them and the space doesn`t separate them. If someone wished to praise a wreath of flowers adorned with jewels from any side he would start his praises with the parts he will also admire the whole; or as someone would see a golden chain and would touch a link and the whole chain would move, the word, going to a single apostle, through him, embraces all the apostles, according to the word inspired by God of Saint Paul the Apostle: If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. [2].

What harmony of the limbs has shown the nature as the Grace of the Holy Spirit united in harmony the move of the apostles? It is indeed one grace which gathered the apostles as an army of the Lord.

2. Therefore come at all of them and by all let us admire everyone of them. Saint Andrew, the symbol of the apostolic courage, the first one who showed the Lord as a master at the beginning of the apostolic move, that one who quickly saw the mastering arrival, that one who changed the apprenticeship at Saint John the Baptist with Christ`s teaching, who changed the seal of the words preached by Saint John the Baptist, as he was the most experienced of all the disciples of Saint John the Baptist

The ray of the candlestick looked at the truth of Light as someone who being in obscure light tries to get used with Christ`s bursts of light

Saint John the Baptist standing in the whirlpools of Jordan baptized the flocks preparing in the waters the repentance as an antidote for the commandments of Moses and with the quick flow of Jordan cut the blade of the sword of Moses. Those who, by the violation of the commandments, attracted their death, were taken by Saint John the Baptist and sent ahead by repentance.

As the One Who untied death was not yet present the baptism subdued death teaching unwillingly the love for men by repentance. But when the Lord was present, being hidden by the wisdom of oikonomia  and hiding the shine of His virtue in the clad of a mortal Saint John the Baptist recognized Him and immediately turned from a disciple to a shield bearer and taking out his hand became  a preacher of the One who was present.

Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

This one, he says, is the rescuer from death. This one is the destroyer of the sin. I am sent as a herald of the Bridegroom but not as a bridegroom. I came as a shield bearer, not as a Master.

3. At these words, Saint Andrew, the most famous of the apostles, being impressed and leaving the disciple ran to the preached One; and by receiving the covenant of the word he becomes more persuasive than Saint John the Baptist and by approaching the Lord he expressed his longing for image taking as a companion on the way Saint John the Evangelist

Both of them leaving the candlestick went to the Sun. Saint Andrew was the first seedling of the apostles. He opened the doors for Christ`s disciples. He was the first one who picked the fruit of the prophetic revelation and who surpassed the expectations of all; the first one who embraced the One who was expected above all.

He was the first to show the commandments of the law given in due time. He was the first to stop the tongue of Moses not suffering anymore to let it speak after Christ, not insulting the teacher of the Jews but preferring instead of the sent one the One who sends. Or he rather was the first one who manifested himself by honoring Moses as he was the first to know that One who was prophesied by Moses.

The Lord, our God will raise for you a prophet from among your brothers; do listen to Him. He raises above the law listening to it.

He heard Moses saying : `Listen to Him.` He heard Saint John the Baptist crying:

Behold, the Lamb of God!

For confessing law he became a deserter of the law. Recognizing the prophesied prophet he leads his brother by the hand to his great discovery. He shows the treasure to Peter who didn`t know anything

I found Messiah we have been waiting for; that One whose coming we expected, let us know Him now by contemplation. I have found that One whom the prophetic trumpets ordered us to wait for. It has come the time the grace preached, the longing hoped to see.

Saint Andrew found his brother, Simon and shares with him the revealed treasure. He leads Peter by the hand to the Lord. Oh strange miracle. In this way Saint Andrew makes himself disciple and teacher of the people. He began his apprenticeship by teaching others.

He takes the worthiness of apostleship. I have found the Messiah. Oh, how many sleepless nights they had spent near the fast waters of Jordan and now they have found the Desired One. Peter did not hesitate as he was Andrew`s brother and with a stroj g desire rushed to open his ears.

4. Taking Peter, Andrew brought the one who was from his folks to the Lord, making him a partaker of apprenticeship. This was Saint Andrew`s first memorable deed

He increased the number of the apostles by bringing Peter so that Christ may have found the coryphaeus of the apostles. Thus Peter by the confession with which he later pleased the Lord  made fruit from the seeds of this pleasing from Andrew. But the exchange of praises between them is balanced from both sides. As the goods belong to both of them and both of them acclaim the same goods. What a great joy brought to all Peter who answered quickly to the questions of the Lord and broke the silence of the disciples:

“Who do people say the Son of Man is?”[3] 

And as if he had been the spokesman of the questioned or as if all of them had spoken through him he spoke above all :

“You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God”, confessing, by a single word, the oikonomia and the One who makes it. Oh, what an appropriate expression of words. At the words Andrew brought Peter, at the very same words the heavenly Father made Peter to subscribe echoing them. As Andrew said: `I have found the Messiah.`

And the heavenly Father suggested to Peter to say:

`You are Messiah, the Son of the Living God` but these He commanded to be said not only by Peter. Peter, being asked about it, repeat Andrew`s words. Prove yourself ready to answer to the Master

As Andrew didn`t lie when saying to you: `I have found Messiah.

But you, by moving the Jewish word to Hellas cry: `You are Christ, the Son of the Living God. See with how many gifts adorns himself Andrew right from the beginning of his apprenticeship?

5. But when the Saviour leaving the cities walked through the desert the crowds of people followed Him not bearing the departure not even for a while. But in the desert there was no food and they suffered of hunger. But the Savior reigning over the desert renews the old miracles and makes the desert witness of the miracles made in the past there and making from his disciples waiters He ordered them to feed the crowds from their food. But the assembly of disciples got troubled by the lack and looking to one another and not understanding what was to happen damaged themselves with their human thoughts. The disciples spoke with one another something else announcing the lack. But Andrew being one of those who were present and rebuking their lack of faith ignored them giving to the Savior the opportunity to make the miracle. What does he say? `There are only five loaves of bread and a few fish.` What does the Savior do then? `Bring these here.` And the confession of the lack turned into a plenty of goods

6. The Saviour making many other miracles in His life on earth and spending enough time with His disciples went to heaven afterwards. But the apostles crossing the world and each one of them going in another place shared with the world the streams of grace. Here this blessed Andrew filling Hellas and the barbarian land with grace and converting the peoples to faith by miracles  was sent to the greatest fighter against faith and I refer at Achaia. After he had saved many for heaven he was killed on the cross for his faith. He imitated by the kind of his death his Master so that by sharing His suffering to show the intensity of his longing. The cross was stuck in the middle of Hellas and Andrew was hung on it, preaching by his crucifixion the Crucified One and by his nails witnessing the nails of the Lord and by his suffering confessing the suffering of the Lord.

Placing himself above this mortal life by his suffering he proved even more fruitful the power of his teaching. And he convinced by his death those whom he had not been able to convince speaking in public

Those he had not converted to faith by speaking he fished them by his suffering. Being divided between heaven and earth, being linked to the earth by his flesh and being linked to heaven by his soul, he watches over the flocks of people by miracles and healings turning those living on earth to the right side

The people who were present brought the harvest of that plowing and from that teaching the grapes of faith flourished. And you became teachers of the right faith, merchants of the Kingdom of heavens and came together at the One at whom the skies marvels; as the word said b y the blessed saint Paul is Christ`s:

If we remain in Him, we will also reign with Him. [4]

Glory to Him forever. Amen.

 [1] Mt. 4, 19.
[2] 1 Cor. 12, 26.
[3] Mt. 16,13.
[4] 2 Tim. 2, 12.

Source: http://doxologia.ro

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