The Advent season is coming up. It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I am beginning to contemplate how I can best meditate on the sacrificial journey Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem along with the humble nativity of our Lord.
One example that has recently encouraged me to look forward to Jesus’ birth with joy and expectant hope is the Apostle Andrew. When I reflect on the miracles he witnessed while spending time with his friend Jesus, I am struck by how Andrew, even after witnessing Jesus’ repeated goodness, was still continually learning to have greater trust in his friend.
The Loaves and Fish
In the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 14, Jesus speaks of His Father’s Kingdom to a gathering of five-thousand people (not including the number of women and children also gathered there). The people were hungry. But the Apostles could only find a total of five loaves and two fish, given to them by a small boy in the crowd.
The Apostle Andrew said to Jesus in regards to the young boy’s offering, “What is that between so many?”
Andrew couldn’t see how such a small amount of food could have an impact on such a large number of people. It turns out, it was quite significant. Jesus took those five loaves and two fish, prayed to His Father in Heaven, and the food was multiplied. It was multiplied in such vast quantities that, after everyone had eaten their fill, the disciples gathered twelve baskets of bread.
There wasn’t just enough food for everyone to keep from starving. They ate till they were full, and more bread was leftover!
Be Brave in Your Asking
St. Andrew may not have had great hope that Jesus would perform a miracle. But he at least asked Him the question, “What is that between so many?”
Maybe we feel that way sometimes. Like what we are praying for is too small or insignificant for Jesus to pay attention. Or maybe, like Andrew, we think our problem is far too large for Jesus to intervene.
Yet what I have learned from this story is that Jesus multiplied the loaves and fish. He shows that He cannot and will not be outdone in generosity.Jesus shows that He cannot and will not be outdone in generosity. #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Pope St. John Paul II gives the following reminder: “Place your lives in the hands of Jesus. He will accept you, and bless you, and He will make such use of your lives as will be beyond your greatest expectations!”
Beyond our greatest expectations! Do not forget, Jesus not only provided for the hungry five-thousand, He provided them with food to spare! Let us reflect on this for a moment. Jesus is omniscient; He is all-knowing. He could have multiplied enough food simply to fill the basket, with no need of multiplying enough to have extra…but He did.
I think He was trying to prove a point. He longs to fulfill our desires, even more than we expect Him to.
Do we have the boldness to ask? What if we ask him intentionally, confidently and specifically this Advent season?
The Christmas Novena of Andrew the Apostle
Because St. Andrew’s feast day falls so close to the beginning of Advent, a prayer has developed called the Christmas Novena or St. Andrew’s Novena. Traditionally, it is recommended to be prayed 15 times each day, from the start of St. Andrew’s feast day (November 30th) to Christmas.
Personally, I am not committing to pray the prayer 15 times each day. But I do intend to pray it slowly and meditatively at least one time each day to prepare for the moment of Jesus’ birth.
Where to Find the Novena
The prayer is as follows and a beautiful calligraphy print can be downloaded as your desktop or phone wallpaper for free, from Erica Tighe.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.
What do you ask of Him when the air gets cold and the wind starts blowing?What Do You Ask of Him? On the Feast of St. Andrew the Apostle #BISblog // Click To Tweet
Susanna Parent is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She serves as Evangelization Manager for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis in the Office of Evangelization. She is a recent graduate of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry program with the School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas. When she’s not reading and writing you can find her enjoying life with her new husband, brewing French press coffee in her kitchen, reading wine labels with friends in an effort to discover the perfect Pinot Noir and blogging about her travel adventures. You can find out more about her here.