We might wonder what lesson there could possibly be for us with so few facts about this apostle of Christ. Cardinal Newman explains it all quite clearly. "Our lesson, then, is this; that those men are not necessarily the most useful men in their generation, not the most favoured by God, who make the most noise in the world, and who seem to be principals in the great changes and events recorded in history; on the contrary, that even when we are able to point to a certain number of men as the real instruments of any great blessings vouchsafed to mankind, our relative estimate of them, one with another, is often very erroneous: so that, on the whole, if we would trace truly the hand of God in human affairs, and pursue His bounty as displayed in the world to its original sources, we must unlearn our admiration of the powerful and distinguished, our reliance on the opinion of society, our respect for the decisions of the learned or the multitude, and turn our eyes to private life, watching in all we read or witness for the true signs of God's presence, the graces of personal holiness manifested in His elect; which, weak as they may seem to mankind, are mighty through God, and have an influence upon the course of His Providence, and bring about great events in the world at large, when the wisdom and strength of the natural man are of no avail."
We must not let ourselves be fooled or sidetracked by those "who make the most noise in the world" -- and their name is Legion for they are many. We see their flashy pictures on the covers of glossy magazines, we hear their booming voices above the murmurs of us common folks, we're momentarily seduced by their charisma that outshines our ordinariness. They do good and, as Cardinal Newman points out, a certain number of them are true instruments of great blessings. But all that glitters is not gold. And, as J. R. R. Tolkien wrote in The Lord of the Rings:
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
The true gold of an individual is not always immediately apparent, and it most likely will never be lauded by the world. Helen Keller once stated that "The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker." God doesn't call all of us to be heroes, but He does need countless ordinary people to be honest workers in His vineyard. Our gold is shiniest when we respond to our Lord and Master as St. Andrew did, quick to respond when He calls us, glad to serve Him in whatever way He chooses, no matter how obscure or lowly. Then one day it can be said of us as it's been said of St. Andrew and all the men and women throughout the ages who have left everything to follow Christ: "Their voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world" (Romans 18:10).
Dear Mary, Virgin of Advent, I rejoice with you that God chooses the lowly for the praise of His glory! Amen.