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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Saints in Advent - St Andrew

Monday, November 30, 2009
In Germany, we have got lots of these St. Andrew’s crosses. When you go through the country, you can see these red and white crosses everywhere. This is not the expression of a great devotion of this apostle, but St. Andrew’s crosses indicate in my country that vehicles on rails have right of way and that you are approaching a level crossing.

Even if this road sign is not intended to have a religious meaning it can express two things. On the one hand we read in the Bible (Matthew 4:18-22) that after having been called by Jesus at the Sea of Galilee Andrew and his brother Peter follow the Lord immediately without thinking through what they are about to do. They must have felt the singularity of that moment. Now or never. So they lay everything aside and follow this man being unknown to them at that point. They must have felt that they had just encountered someone who is bigger than them, someone they have to “give right of way to”. As Christians, we are not the 'number one' in our life. There is someone else who should have priority. When you approach a level crossing, you must be careful to let an approaching train pass. So is it with God. You have to be careful not to miss him when he wants to call you.

On the other hand, the St. Andrew’s cross reminds us that a Christian life is not always a nice walk. The apostle Andrew himself was tortured to death on a cross like our Lord. Even if we don’t have to face being crucified, we are called to bear our cross. It can be quite difficult to live love and forgiveness when the people around us just reckon us as losers because of our way of life. It can be difficult to be at the service of others when people just think of their own interest. We don’t have to look for a cross. A Christian life taken seriously is often difficult enough so that one can ask oneself why such a life is worthwhile. When we dare to live as Christ showed us how to live, we will know the same experiences as he and Andrew because things have not changed since that time.

But our Lord’s and St. Andrew’s life also show us that this life is worth being lived. Like our Lord, Andrew’s life did not end shamefully on the cross. We believe him to be in the presence of our God who wants us also to “have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). That’s why we should give him right of way so that he can give us life in abundance.

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