Saint of the Day – 25 July – Saint James the Greater, Apostle and Martyr, “Son of Thunder.”
The Roman Martyrology reads: “ST JAMES the Apostle, brother of the blessed Evangelist, John, who was beheaded by Herod Agrippa, about the Feast of Easter. His sacred bones were, on this day, carried from Jerusalem to Spain and placed in the remote Province of Galicia, where they are devoutly honoured by the renowned piety of the inhabitants and the frequent concourse of Christians, who visit them through piety and in fulfilment of their vows.”
By Fr Leonard Goffiné O.Praem (1648-1719)
(Excerpt from The Church’s Year)
St James, born in Galilee, son of Zebedee and Salome and a relative of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was a fisherman like his brother John and one of the first of the Apostles called by Christ. He left everything to follow the Lord and with Peter and John, was favoured by Christ, with special confidence.
He was present when Christ was glorified on Mount Thabor, when He healed Peter’s mother-in-law of the fever, raised the daughter of Jairus to life and when He suffered the unutterable terror on Mount Olivet.
He was also, with the rest of the Apostles, a witness of Christ’s Ascension, received with them the Holy Ghost on Pentecost and then preached the Gospel in Judea and the neighbourhood of Jerusalem.
He and his brother John, were called by Christ the Sons of Thunder, on account of their great zeal for the honour and Kingdom of God. When James with this thunderlike zeal continued to preach the Resurrection and the doctrine of Jesus, in Judea, the Jews were so enraged against him, that King Herod thought nothing would please them more than that they should condemn the Apostle to death. This they did, at Easter in the year of our Lord 44.
But when the he, who led him to execution, saw the firmness of his faith, he also became converted to Christ and both were, therefore ,led to death. On the way he prayed the Apostle to forgive him, who said to him: “Peace be with you!” and kissed him. Both were beheaded. This James was the first of the Apostles to shed his blood for Christ and to drink of the chalice of suffering.
His sacred remains were afterwards brought to Compostella in Spain by Abgeks. The Church celebrates his feast on the day of his translation and not on the day of his martyrdom, which, as already said, was at Easter.
PRAYER TO ST. JAMES
O brave Apostle,
the first to drink the Chalice of suffering
after the example of Christ,
Who had shed His Blood for thee,
obtain, I beseech thee,
the grace from Him,
that I may not fear
to drink of the Chalice of pain and suffering
but may bear patiently,
all that the hand of my God offers me,
so that I may, one day,
be worthy to enjo,
in thy society,
the joy of Heaven.
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