For Today November 29: Noah. Noah, the son of Lamech (Genesis 5:30), was instructed by God to build an ark in which his family would find security from the destructive waters of a devastating flood that God warned would come. Noah built the ark, and the rains descended. The entire earth was flooded, destroying “every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals” (Genesis 7:23). After the flood waters subsided, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. When Noah determined it was safe and God confirmed it, Noah, his family, and all the animals disembarked. Then Noah built an altar and offered a sacrifice of thanksgiving to God for having saved his family from destruction. A rainbow in the sky was declared by God to be a sign of His promise that never again would a similar flood destroy the entire earth (Geneis 8:20-22; 9:8-17). Noah is remembered and honored for his obedience, believing that God would do what He said He would.
For Today November 30: St. Andrew, Apostle. St. Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was born in the Galilean village of Bethsaida. Originally a disciple of St. John the Baptist, Andrew then became the first of Jesus’ disciples (John 1:35-40). His name regularly appears in the Gospels near the top of the lists of the twelve. It was he who first introduced his brother Simon to Jesus (John 1: 41-42). He was, in a real sense, the first home missionary, as well as the first foreign missionary (John 12: 20-22). Tradition says that Andrew was martyred by crucifixion on a cross in the form of an X. In AD 357, his body is said to have been taken to the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople and later removed to the cathedral of Amalfi in Italy. Centuries later, Andrew became the patron saint of Scotland. St. Andrew’s Day determines the beginning of the Western Church Year, since the First Sunday in Advent is always the Sunday nearest to St. Andrew’s Day.
Today For November 23: Clement of Rome, Pastor. Clement (ca. AD 35-100) is remembered for having established the pattern of apostolic authority that governed the Christian Church during the first and second centuries. He also insisted in keeping Christ at the center of the Church’s worship and outreach. In a letter to the Christian’s at Corinth, he emphasized the centrality of Jesus’ death and resurrection: “Let us fix our eyes on the blood of Christ, realizing how precious it is to His Father, since it was poured out for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to the whole world” (Clement 6:31). Prior to suffering a martyr’s death by drowning, Clement displayed a steadfast, Christlike love for God’s redeemed people, serving as an inspiration to future generations to continue to build the Church on the foundation of the prophets and apostles, with Christ as the one and only cornerstone.
November 19 Elizabeth of Hungary: Born in Pressburg, Hungary, in 1207, Elizabeth was the daughter of King Andrew II and his wife, Gertrude. Given as a bride in an arranged political marriage, Elizabeth became the wife of Louis of Thuringia in Germany at age fourteen. She had a spirit of Chrtistian generosity and charity, and the home she established for her husband and three children in the Wartburg Castle at Eisenach was known for its hospitality and family love. Elizabeth often supervised the care of the sick and needy and at one time even gave up her bed to a leper. Widowed at the age of twenty, she made provisions for her children and entered into an austere life as a nun in the Order of Saint Francis. Her self-denial lead to failing health and an early death in 1231 at the age of twenty-four. Remembered for her self-sacrificing ways, Elizabeth is commemorated through the many hospitals named for her around the world.
Today for November 11 Martin of Tours, Pastor: Born into a pagan family in what is now Hungary around AD 316, Martin grew up in Lombardy (Italy). Coming to the Christian faith as a young person, he began a career in the Roman army. But sensing a call to a church vocation, Martin left the military and became a monk, affirming that he was “Christ’s Soldier.” Eventually, Martin was named bishop of Tours in western Gaul (France). He is remembered for his simple lifestyle and his determination to share the Gospel throughout rural Gaul. Incidentally, on St. Martin’s Day in 1483, the one-day-old son of Hans and Margarette Luther was baptized and given the name “Martin” Luther.
Today for November 14 Emperor Justinian, Christian Ruler and Confessor of Christ: Justinian was the emperor of the East from AD 527 to 565, when the Roman Empire was in decline. With his beautiful and capable wife, Theodora, he restored splendor and majesty to the Byzantine court. During his reign, the empire experienced a renaissance, due in large part to his ambition, intellegence, and strong religious convictions. Justinian also attempted to bring unity to a divided Church. He was a champion of orthodox Christianity and sought agreement among the parties in the Christological controversies of the day as the groups disputed the relation between the divine and the human natures in the person of Christ. The fifth Ecumenical Council in Constantinople in AD 533 was held during his reign and addressed this dispute. Justidian died in his eighties without having accomplished his desire to forge an empire that was firmly Christian and orthodox.