Double of the Second Class Feast of SAINT JAMES THE GREATER, APOSTLE
Commemoration of Saint Christopher, Martyr, with a Reflection by Dom Prosper Gueranger
Missa "Mihi autem"
Saint James the Greater
was the son of Zebedee
(Cf. Matthew 27:56; Mark 15:40; 16:1). Zahn asserts that Salome was the daughter of a priest. James is styled "the Greater" to distinguish him from the Apostle James "the Less"
, who was probably shorter of stature. We know nothing of St. James's early life. He was the brother of Saint John
, the beloved disciple, and probably the elder of the two.
His parents seem to have been people of means as appears from the following facts.
- Zebedee was a fisherman of the Lake of Galilee, who probably lived in or near Bethsaida (John 1:44), perhaps in Capharnaum; and had some boatmen or hired men as his usual attendants (Mark 1:20).
- Salome was one of the pious women who afterwards followed Christ and "ministered unto him of their substance" (cf. Matthew 27:55, sq.; Mark 15:40; 16:1; Luke 8:2 sq.; 23:55-24:1).
- St. John was personally known to the high-priest (John 18:16); and must have had wherewithal to provide for Mary, the Mother of Jesus (John 19:27).
It is probable, according to Acts 4:13, that John (and consequently his brother James) had not received the technical training of the rabbinical schools; in this sense they were unlearned and without any official position among the Jews. But, according to the social rank of their parents, they must have been men of ordinary education, in the common walks of Jewish life. They had frequent opportunity of coming in contact with Greek life and language, which were already widely spread along the shores of the Galilean Sea.
Some authors, comparing John 19:25 with Matthew 28:56 and Mark 15:40, identify, and probably rightly so, Mary the Mother of James the Less and of Joseph in Mark and Matthew with "Mary of Cleophas" in John. As the name of Mary Magdalen occurs in the three lists, they identify further Salome in Mark with "the mother of the sons of Zebedee" in Matthew; finally they identify Salome with "his mother's sister" in John. They suppose, for this last identification, that four women are designated by John 19:25; the Syriac "Peshito" gives the reading: "His mother and his mother's sister, and Mary of Cleophas and Mary Magdalen." If this last supposition is right, Salome was a sister of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and James the Greater and John were first cousins of the Lord; this may explain the discipleship of the two brothers, Salome's request and their own claim to the first position in His kingdom, and His commendation of the Blessed Virgin to her own nephew. But it is doubtful whether the Greek admits of this construction without the addition or the omission of kai (and). Thus the relationship of St. James to Jesus remains doubtful.
His life and apostolate
The Galilean origin of St. James in some degree explains the energy of temper and the vehemence of character which earned for him and St. John the name of Boanerges, "sons of thunder" (Mark 3:17); the Galilean race was religious, hardy, industrious, brave, and the strongest defender of the Jewish nation.
When St. John the Baptist proclaimed the kingdom of the Messias, St. John became a disciple (John 1:35); he was directed to "the Lamb of God" and afterwards brought his brother James to the Messias; the obvious meaning of John 1:41, is that St. Andrew finds his brother St. Peter first and that afterwards St. John (who does not name himself, according to his habitual and characteristic reserve and silence about himself) finds his brother (St. James). The call of St. James to the discipleship of the Messias is reported in a parallel or identical narration by Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:19 sq.; and Luke 5:1-11. The two sons of Zebedee, as well as Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew with whom they were in partnership (Luke 5:10), were called by the Lord upon the Sea of Galilee, where all four with Zebedee and his hired servants were engaged in their ordinary occupation of fishing. The sons of Zebedee "forthwith left their nets and father, and followed him" (Matthew 4:22), and became "fishers of men".
St. James was afterwards with the other eleven called to the Apostleship (Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Acts 1:13). In all four lists the names of Peter and Andrew, James and John form the first group, a prominent and chosen group (cf. Mark 13:3); especially Peter, James, and John. These three Apostles alone were admitted to be present at the miracle of the raising of Jairus's daughter (Mark 5:37; Luke 8:51), at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1; Matthew 17:1; Luke 9:28), and the Agony in Gethsemani (Matthew 26:37; Mark 14:33). The fact that the name of James occurs always (except in Luke 8:51; 9:28; Acts 1:13 -- Greek Text) before that of his brother seems to imply that James was the elder of the two. It is worthy of notice that James is never mentioned in theGospel of St. John; this author observes a humble reserve not only with regard to himself, but also about the members of his family.
Several incidents scattered through the Synoptics suggest that James and John had that particular character indicated by the name "Boanerges," sons of thunder, given to them by the Lord (Mark 3:17); they were burning and impetuous in their evangelical zeal and severe in temper. The two brothers showed their fiery temperament against "a certain man casting out devils" in the name of the Christ; John, answering, said: "We [James is probably meant] forbade him, because he followeth not with us" (Luke 9:49). When the Samaritans refused to receive Christ, James and John said: "Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from Heaven, and consume them?" (Luke 9:54; cf. 9:49).
On the last journey to Jerusalem, their mother Salome came to the Lord and said 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" (Matthew 20:21). And the two brothers, still ignorant of the spiritual nature of the Messianic Kingdom, joined with their mother in this eager ambition (Mark 10:37). And on their assertion that they are willing to drink the chalice that He drinks of, and to be baptized with the baptism of His sufferings, Jesus assured them that they will share His sufferings (Mark 5:38-39).
James won the crown of martyrdom fourteen years after this prophecy, A.D. 44. Herod Agrippa I, son of Aristobulus and grandson of Herod the Great, reigned at that time as "king" over a wider dominion than that of his grandfather. His great object was to please the Jews in every way, and he showed great regard for the Mosaic Law and Jewish customs. In pursuance of this policy, on the occasion of the Passover of A.D. 44, he perpetrated cruelties upon the Church, whose rapid growth incensed the Jews. The zealous temper of James and his leading part in the Jewish Christian communities probably led Agrippa to choose him as the first victim. "He killed James, the brother of John, with the sword." (Acts 12:1-2).
According to a tradition, which, as we learn from Eusebius (Hist. Eccl., II, ix, 2, 3), was received from Clement of Alexandria (in the seventh book of his lost "Hypotyposes"), the accuser who led the Apostle to judgment, moved by his confession, became himself a Christian, and they were beheaded together. As Clement testifies expressly that the account was given him "by those who were before him," this tradition has a better foundation than many other traditions and legends respecting the Apostolic labours and death of St. James, which are related in the Latin "Passio Jacobi Majoris", the Ethiopic "Acts of James", and so on.
The tradition asserting that James the Greater preached the Gospel in Spain, and that his body was translated to Compostela, claims more serious consideration. According to this tradition St. James the Greater, having preached Christianity in Spain, returned to Judea and was put to death by order of Herod; his body was miraculously translated to Iria Flavia in the northwest of Spain, and later to Compostela, which town, especially during the Middle Ages, became one of the most famous places of pilgrimage in the world. The vow of making a pilgrimage to Compostela to honour the sepulchre of St. James is still reserved to the pope, who alone of his own or ordinary right can dispense from it. In the twelfth century was founded the Order of Knights of St. James of Compostela.
With regard to the preaching of the Gospel in Spain by St. James the greater, several difficulties have been raised:
St. James suffered martyrdom A.D. 44 (Acts 12:2), and, according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time (cf. Clement of Alexandria, "Strom.", VI; Apollonius, quoted by Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." VI, xviii).
- St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans (A.D. 58) expressed the intention to visit Spain (Romans 15:24) just after he had mentioned (15:20) that he did not "build upon another man's foundation."
- The argument ex silentio: although the tradition that James founded an Apostolic see in Spain was current in the year 700, no certain mention of such tradition is to be found in the genuine writings of early writers nor in the early councils; the first certain mention we find in the ninth century, in Notker, a monk of St. Gall (Martyrol., 25 July), Walafried Strabo (Poema de XII Apost.), and others.
- The tradition was not unanimously admitted afterwards, while numerous scholars reject it. The Bollandists however defended it.
The authenticity of the sacred relic of Compostela has been questioned and is still doubted. Even if St. James the Greater did not preach the Christian religion in Spain, his body may have been brought to Compostela, and this was already the opinion of Notker. According to another tradition, the relics of the Apostle are kept in the church of St-Saturnin at Toulouse (France), but it is not improbable that such sacred relics should have been divided between two churches. A strong argument in favour of the authenticity of the sacred relics of Compostela is the Bull of Pope Leo XIII, "Omnipotens Deus," of 1 November, 1884.
(Source: Catholic Encyclopedia, 1910)
You can't keep a good saint down! Long live the memory and veneration of Saint Christopher, instrinsically linked to St. James and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Missa "Mihi autem"
Go to the ORDINARY OF THE HOLY MASS THE MASS OF THE CATECHUMENS
While today we celebrate the Double of the Second Class Feast of Saint James the Greater, lost in the shuffle is poor Saint Christopher whom the Vatican II Modernists didn't particularly take a hankering to and, with the feeble excuse that "there wasn't enough historical proof of his existence", eliminated him from the liturgical calendar just as he did dear Saint Philomena. In a way they weren't offended. After all, what else would you expect from an impostor intent on destroying the holy faith? In an effort to keep St. Christopher visible for Catholics, we present here a brief summation of his virtues by the renowned Abbot Dom Prosper Gueranger from The Liturgical Year:
The name of Christopher, whose memory enhances the solemnity of the son of thunder, signifies one who bears Christ. Christina yesterday reminded us that Christians ought to be in every place the good odor of Christ (2 Corinthians 2: 15), Christopher today puts us in mind that Christ truly dwells by faith in our hearts (Ephesians 3: 17). The graceful legend attached to his name is well known. [though Montini and his gang of Modernists didn't think so!]As other men were at a later date, to sanctify themselves in Spain by constructing roads and bridges to facilitate the approach of pilgrims to the tomb of St. James, so Christopher in Lycia had vowed for the love of Christ to carry travelers on his strong shoulders across a dangerous torrent. Our Lord will say on the last day: 'What you did to one of these My least brethren, you did it unto Me.' One night, being awakened by the voice of a child asking to be carried across, Christopher hastened to perform his wonted task of charity, when suddenly, in the midst of the surging and apparently trembling waves, the giant, who had never stooped beneath the greatest weight, was bent down under his burden, now grown heavier than the world itself. 'Be not astonished,' said the mysterious child, 'thou bearest Him Who bears the world.' And He disappeared, blessing His carrier and leaving him full of heavenly strength. Christopher went on to be crowned with martyrdom under Decius. The aid our fathers knew how to obtain from him against storms, demons, plague, accidents of all kinds, has caused him to be ranked among the saints called helpers. In many places the fruits of the orchards were blessed on this day, under the common auspices of St. Christopher and St. James.
In many traditional parishes, vehicles are blessed on this day as well for St. Christopher medals and statues still populate traditional homes and cars. St. Christopher ferried so many of His "lesser ones" across the turbulent river to pray at the tomb (above left) of St. James the Greater at Santiago Compostela in Spain. A final thought. Why would Archbishop Giovanni Montini have wanted to rid the calendar of St. Christopher? Why would Bishop Karol Wojtyla and Father Joseph Ratzinger have followed suit in condoning such insolence? Could it be because St. Christopher, is, as Abbe Gueranger points out above, the patron saint against demons and we all know who let the demon dogs in the front door after Cardinal Angelo Roncalli opened wide the back door. Sancte Christophorus, ora pro nobis.
Despite the idiocy and satanic insanity of Vatican II doing away with some saints with no rhyme nor reason for their actions, today is also the feast of Saint Christopher - "Christ Bearer." There is a commemoration of him today. St. Christopher, a native of Chanaan, was martyred at Lycia in the Third Century. He was greatly venerated in the East. His name, which signifies "one who carries Christ," won for him great veneration even in the city of Rome. Many statues of St. Christopher were placed at the entrance to cathedrals. He is the patron of travelers and is invoked in storms, tempest and plagues. The medal of St. Christopher is frequently attached to motor vehicles for protection in travel.
Although St. Christopher is one of the most popular saints in the East and in the West, almost nothing certain is known about his life or death. The legend says: A heathen king (in Canaan or Arabia), through the prayers of his wife to the Blessed Virgin, had a son, whom he called Offerus (Offro, Adokimus, or Reprebus) and dedicated to the gods Machmet and Apollo. Acquiring in time extraordinary size and strength, Offerus resolved to serve only the strongest and the bravest. He bound himself successively to a mighty king and to satan, but he found both lacking in courage, the former dreading even the name of the devil, and the latter frightened by the sight of a cross at the roadside.
For a time his search for a new master was in vain, but at last he found a hermit (Babylas) who told him to offer his allegiance to Christ, instructed him in the Faith, and baptized him. Christopher, as he was now called, would not promise to do any fasting or praying, but willingly accepted the task of carrying people, for God's sake, across a raging stream. One day he was carrying a child who continually grew heavier, so that it seemed to him as if he had the whole world on his shoulders. The child, on inquiry, made himself known as theCreator and Redeemer of the world. To prove his statement the child ordered Christopher to fix his staff in the ground. The next morning it had grown into a palm-tree bearing fruit. The miracle converted many. This excited the rage of the king (prefect) of that region Dagnus of Samos in Lycia. Christopher was put into prison and, after many cruel torments, beheaded.
The Greek legend may belong to the sixth century; about the middle of the ninth, we find it spread through France. Originally, St. Christopher was only a martyr, and as such is recorded in the old martyrologies. The simple form of the Greek and Latin passio soon gave way to more elaborate legends. We have the Latin edition in prose and verse of 983 by the subdeacon Walter of Speyer, "Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus" (Augsburg, 1721-23), II, 27-142, and Harster, "Walter von Speyer" (1878). An edition of the eleventh century is found in the Acta SS., and another in the "Golden Legend" of Jacob de Voragine. The idea conveyed in the name, at first understood in the spiritual sense of bearing Christ in the heart, was in the twelfth or thirteenth century taken in the realistic meaning and became the characteristic of the saint. The fact that he was frequently called a great martyr may have given rise to the story of his enormous size. The stream and the weight of the child may have been intended to denote the trials and struggles of a soul taking upon itself the yoke of Christ in this world.
The existence of a martyr St. Christopher cannot be denied, as was sufficiently shown by the Jesuit Nicholas Serarius, in his treatise on litanies, "Litaneutici" (Cologne, 1609), and by Molanus in his history of sacred pictures, "De picturis et imaginibus sacris" (Louvain, 1570). In a small church dedicated to the martyr St. Christopher, the body of St. Remigius of Reims was buried, 532 (Acta SS., 1 Oct., 161). St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) speaks of a monastery of St. Christopher (Epp., x., 33). The Mozarabic Breviary and Missal, ascribed to St. Isidore of Seville (d. 636), contains a special office in his honor. In 1386 a brotherhood was founded under the patronage of St. Christopher in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, to guide travellers over the Arlberg. In 1517, a St. Christopher temperance society existed in Carinthia, Styria, in Saxony, and at Munich. Great veneration was shown to the saint in Venice, along the shores of the Danube, the Rhine, and other rivers where floods or ice-jams caused frequent damage. The oldest picture of the saint, in the monastery on the Mount Sinai dates from the time of Justinian (527-65). Coins with his image were cast at Würzburg, in Würtemberg, and in Bohemia that later translated, when blessed, into medals still in use today.
His statues were placed at the entrances of churches and dwellings, and frequently at bridges; these statues and his pictures often bore the inscription: "Whoever shall behold the image of St. Christopher shall not faint or fall on that day." The saint, who is one of the fourteen holy helpers, has been chosen as patron by Baden, by Brunswick, and by Mecklenburg, and several other cities, as well as by bookbinders, gardeners, mariners, etc. He is invoked against lightning, storms, epilepsy, pestilence, etc. His feast is kept on 25 July; among the Greeks, on 9 March; and his emblems are the tree, the Christ Child, and a staff. St. Christopher's Island (commonly called St. Kitts), lies 46 miles west of Antigua in the Lesser Antilles. Catholic Encyclopedia, 1908)
We want to thank the Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for expediting these resources of the Propers. Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
INTROIT: Psalm 46: 2