St-Gregory-the-Dialogist(Feast of St Andrew)

Dearly beloved brethren, you have heard how that Peter and Andrew, having once heard the Lord call them, left their nets, and followed their Saviour.

As yet they had seen none of His miracles, as yet they had received no promise of their exceeding and eternal reward.

Nevertheless, at one word of the Lord they forgot all those things which they seemed to have.

We have seen many of His miracles.

We have received many of His gracious chastening.

Many times has He warned us of the wrath to come.

And yet Christ calls, and we do not follow.

He who calls us to be converted is now enthroned in heaven.

He has broken the necks of the Gentiles to the yoke of the faith.

He hath laid low the glory of the world.

And the wreckage of the world, falling ever more and more to decay, preaches unto us that the coming of that day when He is to be revealed as our Judge is drawing nigh.

And yet, our mind is so stubborn that we will not yet freely abandon those things on which, whether or not we wish to do so, we are in any case daily losing our grip.

Dearly beloved brethren, what shall we answer at His judgment-seat?

No lessons can persuade us.  No punishments can break us away from the love of this present world.

Faced with this question, someone might ask within his heart what Peter or Andrew had to lose by obeying the call of the Lord.

Dearly beloved brethren, we must consider here rather the intention than the loss incurred by their obedience.

He that keeps nothing whatsoever for himself, gives up much. He that sacrifices his all has sacrificed what is to him a great deal.

Beyond doubt, we cling to whatever we have, and what we have least, that we desire most. Peter and Andrew therefore gave up much when they gave up even the desire of possessing anything.

Gregory the Great (c.540-604): Homilies on the Gospels, 5, from Mattins of the Feast of St Andrew (November 30th).