May 21st: Our Lady of the Protection (3)
Who is Blessed Andrei to be chosen to contemplate the vision of the Mother of God?
Andrei was the servant of a rich man named Theognostus, who was serving as bodyguard to the Emperor Leo the Great (886-912). Andrei was a calm and kindhearted young man, and Theognostus liked him very much. As his master foresaw to his education, Andrei frequented the church, studied the Scriptures diligently and liked to read the lives of Saints. Gradually the desire to devote himself totally to God grew stronger and, following a sign from above, he chose the life of “fool-for-Christ”, an ascetic for the love of God.
In response to his life of deep humility and spiritual purity, God endowed Saint Andrei with the gifts of discernment and prophecy. In many instances, his holy wisdom and extraordinary spiritual beauty were revealed. During his life, Andrei had the privilege of seeing the Lord Jesus Christ himself, angels and several Holy Saints. While contemplating the Lord, he was surprised by the absence of the Most Holy Virgin. When he asked where she was, he was told that she was manifesting her presence to many who were suffering and in need of consolation for their sorrow. In fact, Saint Andrei was also blessed with a visit from the Theotokos in the Vlahern church of Constantinople.