Thoughts for July 25 from Fr Willie Doyle

St James the Greater by El Greco, 1606

July 25: Feast of St James

You ask how to pray well. The answer is, Pray often, in season and out of season, against yourself, in spite of yourself. There is no other way. What a man of prayer St. James, the Apostle must have been since his knees became like those of a camel! When shall we religious realize the power for good that prayer, constant, unflagging prayer, puts into our hands Did it ever strike you that when our Lord pointed out the ”fields white for the harvest”, He did not urge His Apostle to go and reap it, but to pray?

COMMENT: One thing really jumps out from Fr Doyle’s comment today – “there is no other way” for us than to pray. This doesn’t mean that we don’t work, or use our human talents, but that there is no other way for us to be successful in using these gifts than to pray and beg for God’s grace.

Today, being a Sunday, means that the feast of St James will be superseded by the Mass of the Sunday. However, the feast of St James will be celebrated with particular gusto in Spain today, where the festivities will be even more spectacular precisely because the fast falls on a Sunday.

The relics of St James are kept in Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, one of the biggest pilgrimage sites throughout the history of Christendom.  If the legends of his having evangelised Spain are correct, he clearly used his camel knees for more than praying to have travelled so far to spread Christianity!

One of the great aspects of major feasts in Santiago cathedral is the Botafumeiro, a massive thurible which reaches almost as high as the roof of the cathedral. Here is a video of it in action.

Happy feast day to all those from Spain!

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