FEAST OF ST. JAMES
2 Maccabees, Chapter 8, Verse 16
Maccabeus assembled his forces, six thousand strong, and exhorted them not to be panic-stricken before the enemy, nor to fear the very large number of Gentiles unjustly attacking them, but to fight nobly.
Judas sums up their theological position before the battle succinctly: Our opponents trust in weapons and strategy, whereas we simply trust in an all-powerful God.
One of the greatest temptations in the Catholic life is that of complacency. We go through the motions, attending Mass on Sunday and maybe going to a parish program or two, but the Faith never really penetrates deep into our souls. It remains a superficial reality; just another thing to do in our comfortable, civilized lives. We love to complain about the problems in the Church—rending our garments over this bad bishop or this corrupt priest. We ask: Where are the saints of the modern Church? Where are the holy men and women who can be shining lights in this dark world? We lament the state of things, never realizing that it is that God has called us to be saints. It is we who must strive for sanctity as if our lives depended on it—because they do.
Fight for the Crown of Eternal Life
Take up Your Cross
Feast of St James the Greater, Apostle
JAMES, by birth a Galilean, a son of Zebedee and Salome, was brother to St. John the apostle, with whom he was called by Jesus to follow Him. He was present at the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, at the raising of the daughter of Jairus from the dead, and other like miracles, and at the bloody sweat in the Garden. After the sending of the Holy Ghost he preached the doctrines of Jesus in Judea, Samaria, and in Jerusalem, where Herod caused him to be beheaded in the year 44. His body was brought to Compostella, in Spain, where it is venerated by vast numbers of the faithful, who make pilgrimages to his grave. St. James was the first of the apostles who shed his blood for Christ.
The Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela
The history of the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela stretches back more than 1000 years to the discovery of the body of St. James during the reign of King Alfonso II (792-842). St. James was already believed to have been the great evangelist of Spain and for many hundreds of years there had been a scholarly and literary tradition supporting this belief. The discovery of the relics of St. James then became a focal point for pilgrims. Though a few pilgrims to Santiago are recorded in the 10th century, and many more in the 11th, it was in the early 12th century, and particularly under the energetic promotion of Archbishop Diego Gelmírez (1100-1140), that Santiago came to rank with Rome and Jerusalem as one of the great destinations of medieval pilgrimage. The first Cathedral was built over the site of the tomb, and gradually houses were established, for example by monks from Cluny in Burgundy and from Aurillac in Cantal, France, along the developing pilgrimage route.
The 12th and 13th centuries are considered to have been the golden age of the pilgrimage to Santiago. Subsequently the years of the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe led to a decrease in the number of pilgrims. However pilgrims still made their way to Santiago throughout the centuries. In 1884, following academic and medical research, Pope Leon XIII issued the Bull, Deus Omnipotens, which proclaimed that the relics in Santiago were those of St. James. This is recognized as the start of the modern development of the pilgrimage. It was thought that in the 20th Century the growth of mechanized means of transport such as cars and airplanes might lead to a reduction in the number of pilgrims travelling to Santiago on foot or on horseback. This was not to be the case and in the last 30 years in particular there has been a huge growth in interest and in the number of pilgrims travelling on foot, on horseback or by bicycle. Pilgrims were encouraged by the visits by Pope John Paul II in 1982 and in 1989 when World Youth Day was held in Santiago. The number of pilgrims continues to grow. In 1985 1,245 pilgrims arrived in Santiago. In the 2010 Holy Year 272,703 pilgrims qualified for the Compostela.
Bearer of Christ
The Collegeville Bible Commentary, 1986.
 Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.