The Holy Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of Saint Matthias. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Fortitude so he faithfully face persecution and martyrdom and by growing in the Virtue of Piety so he can more frequently seek the intercession of the Saints.
Feast of Saint Matthias – May 14- Jn 15:9-17
Jesus continues His Farewell Discourse (Jn 13:31-16:33) during Holy Week, preparing the Apostles for their mission after His departure. After instructing the Apostles with the Vine and Branches, an enduring allegory which reveals the necessity of remaining in union with Jesus, He reveals the mysterious power He is describing is love, and that a man must keep the commandments for love to flow from Jesus, allowing a man to excel in self-sacrificing love.
Those who abide in Jesus, can aspire to become “friends” with Him. Searing the need into men’s minds for obedience in keeping His commandments, Jesus insists that if men wish to be friends with Him, they must keep His commandments. While keeping the commandments in daily life is a lower requirement than laying down one’s life for another man, all of the Apostles, except John, will be martyred for Jesus; John will suffer significant persecution. While Jesus offers friendship to the Apostles, He remains their King and Master, making it clear that He has chosen them, commands them to spread the Gospel (bear fruit) to the world and demands that they love one another. Further clarifying His authority and superiority over them, Jesus promises the Apostles their prayer petitions to the Father will be granted if they ask in Jesus’ name.
After the self-condemning sin of betraying Jesus, Judas Iscariot committed suicide, spilling his guts across a field (Mt 27:1-10, Acts 1:18). When Peter called for a replacement for Judas, Matthias, a follower of Jesus from the time of His baptism, was chosen by lots (Acts 1:21-26). Tradition holds that St. Matthias preached the Gospel to barbarians and cannibals in modern day Ethiopia, also evangelized in what is now the country of modern day Georgia and was martyred by stoning/beheading in Jerusalem. St. Matthias’ relics continue to be venerated in the Abbey Church of St. Matthias in Trier Germany.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by Jesus, the Son of God, who comes to establish Divine Charity among men: the Son of the Father, from the perfection of Charity between the Father and the Son, incarnates as Jesus; Jesus reveals that the ultimate test of every man is his love of his brothers, perfected in the willingness to “lay down one’s life” for another; Jesus, before He will lay down His life for the salvation of man, gives His greatest and final commandment, “Love one another.”
Be fortified to face persecution and martyrdom
Realize: St. Matthias, like all the Apostles, faced persecution and, like eleven of the twelve Apostles (except St. John) was martyred.
Believe: Reflect upon Persecution (CCC 530, 675, 1435, 1716, 2303) and Martyrdom (CCC 313, 523-524, 558, 1434, 2473, 2506).
Pray: St. Matthias, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Fortitude so I joyously take up the great call to be a witness for Christ, I persevere when I am persecuted, and I have the holy and heroic courage to be a martyr if it be God’s Will.
Seek the intercession of the Saints
Realize: In the Communion of Saints, every Catholic man is blessed to be able to strive to imitate and seek the intercession of the Saints, the greatest human beings who have ever lived.
Believe: Reflect upon the Communion of the Saints (CCC 946-962, 2683) and Patron Saints (CCC 2156, 2165).
Pray: St. Matthias, pray that I grow in the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I honor the Saints and I develop a veneration for those Saints who can help in my own particular struggles in the Spiritual Combat.