21 June 2006

The example of Saint James

In his customary gentleness and kindness, BXVI today at his General Audience, "As it is very hot today, I would like to abbreviate and mention only two of these occasions [where James the Greater appears in Scripture] now."

The Apostle, he said, "is presented to us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ."

Focusing on both the experience on Mount Tabor of the Transfiguration of Jesus and of the agony of Jesus on the Mount of Olives in the garden of Gethsemane, the Holy Father noted,

In one case, James, with the other two disciples [Peter and John], experiences the Lord's glory, sees him speaking with Moses and Elijah, sees the divine splendor revealed in Jesus; in the other, he finds himself before suffering and humiliation; he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, become obedient unto death.
As the son of Zebedee followed after Christ Jesus "he had to discern how the Messeiah . . . was in reality not only surrounded by honor and glory, but also by sufferings and weakness. The glory of Christ was realized precisely on the cross, in taking part in our sufferings."

As BXVI has done with St. Peter and St. Andrew, he went on mention several lessons we can learn from the life, faith, and witness of St. James. These include:

promptness in accepting the Lord's call, even when he asks us to leave the "barque" [an ancient boat] of our human securities; enthusiasm in following Him on the parths that he indicates to us beyond our illusory presumption; readiness to give witness to Him with courage and, if necessary, with the supreme sacrifice of life.
But not only this, in examining the life of James we can see that he underwent a conversion of a truly profound sort. It was, of course, james "who initially requsted, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom" and it was James who "was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion, in sharing martyrdom with the Apostles."

I expect that the Holy Father will continue these on the Apostle James next week. Keep them coming, Holy Father!

St. James the Greater, pray for us!

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