25 July 2014

Feast of Santiago Matamoros

St. James the Greater, that is-- son of Zebedee, brother of John the Evangelist, one of the favored three Apostles who accompanied Our Lord on Tabor, first Apostolic Martyr, Patron Saint of Spain, Destroyer of the Moors.

And, because God is good, it is also the feast day of St. Christopher, who is NOT "defrocked" as you may have mislearned in the press a decade or so ago.

From the Epistle and Gospel of today:

1 Corinthians 4: 9-15

[9] For I think that God hath set forth us apostles, the last, as it were men appointed to death: we are made a spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. [10] We are fools for Christ' s sake, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are honourable, but we without honour. [11] Even unto this hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; [12] And we labour, working with our own hands: we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. [13] We are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world, the offscouring of all even until now. [14] I write not these things to confound you; but I admonish you as my dearest children. [15] For if you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet not many fathers. For in Christ Jesus, by the gospel, I have begotten you.

Matthew 20: 20-23

[20] Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee with her sons, adoring and asking something of him. [21] Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom. [22] And Jesus answering, said: You know not what you ask. Can you drink the chalice that I shall drink? They say to him: We can. [23] He saith to them: My chalice indeed you shall drink; but to sit on my right or left hand, is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father.

Two more items for the day, which I repost from previous years.

The first is an excerpt from The Liturgical Year:

Nearly eight centuries, which to the heavenly citizens are but as a day, had passed over that tomb in the north of Spain, where two disciples had secretly laid the apostle's body. During that time the land of his inheritance, which he had so rapidly traversed, had been overrun first by Roman idolaters, then by Arian barbarians, and when the day of hope seemed about to dawn, a deeper night was ushered in by the Crescent. One day lights were seen glimmering over the briars that covered the monument; attention was drawn to the spot, which henceforth went by the name of the field of stars. But what are those sudden shouts coming down from the mountains, and echoing through the valleys? Who is this unknown chief rallying against an immense army the little worn-out troop whose heroic valour could not yesterday save it from defeat? Swift as lightning, and bearing in one hand a white standard with a red cross, he rushes with drawn sword upon the panic-stricken foe, and dyes the feet of his charger in the blood of 70,000 slain. Hail to the chief of the holy war, of which this Liturgical Year has so often made mention! St. James! St. James! Forward, Spain! It is the reappearance of the Galilean fisherman, whom the Man-God once called from the bark where he was mending his nets; of the elder son of thunder, now free to hurl the thunderbolt upon these new Samaritans, who pretend to honour the unity of God by making Christ no more than a prophet. Henceforth James shall be to Christian Spain the firebrand which the prophet saw, devouring all the people round about, to the right hand and to the left, until Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place in Jerusalem.

And when, after six centuries and a half of struggle, his standard bearers, the Catholic kings, had succeeded in driving the infidel hordes beyond the seas, the valiant leader of the Spanish armies laid aside his bright armour, and the slayer of Moors became once more a messenger of the faith. As fisher of men, he entered his bark, and gathering around it the gallant fleets of Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Albuquerque, he led them over unknown seas to lands that had never yet heard the name of the Lord. For his contribution to the labours of the twelve, James drew ashore his well-filled nets, from west and east and south, from new worlds, renewing Peter's astonishment at the sight of such captures. He, whose apostolate seemed at the time of Herod III to have been crushed in the bud before bearing any fruit, may say with St. Paul: I have no way come short of them that are above measure apostles, for by the grace of God, I have laboured more abundantly than all they.

Finally, all Catholic hearts must invariably turn to Spain on this glorious feast day of St. James the Greater. Today let all of us, wherever we are, be spiritually united in the Sacred Heart in Santiago de Compostela.

Let our prayers be offered for, and in union with, the peregrinos arriving at the Cathedral today.

Happy feast day!


dulac90 said...

I'm still in.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this great post.

Unfortunately, the image of St. James-on-a-horseback is no longer regarded in Campostela in the religious context where it was once. Tour guides in that shrine describe it as a dying secular symbol of Spain, much like the flamengo dance and the bullfight. I'm guessing that the mere mention of Santiago Matamoros in that place is considered too Islamophobic. It appears the Shrine itself is aiming toward political correctness or has completely been dhimmitized.

As a pilgrim I was disheartened to learn this. I came from a small town in the Philippines whose patron saint is "Santiago Mayor, Apostol y Martir." We have two statues of St. James in our church - one as the fighting Knight and another as a robed apostle carrying a chalice (as in "Can you drink of the cup?") Our church also has an ancient mural of St. Christopher carrying Baby Jesus on his back, but our main patron saint is the apostle.

People in my hometown have great devotion to St. James and are proud of the story of how the once fisherman apostle of Christ had an apparition in Spain, dressed as a Caballero on a horseback, wielding the sword and driving away violent Islamists.

Happy Feastday, Santiago! My hometown still loves you.