St. Matthias

NB—I transferred the commemoration of St. Matthias from 2/24 (Tuesday) to 2/26 (Thursday) for our regularly scheduled Thursday Mass.

St. Matthias, in many ways, is the unknown saint.  All we can say about him with confidence comes from Acts 1:15-21. Here we find that he meets the requirements for replacing Judas in that he was a follower of Jesus  from the beginning until the Ascension, and was thus to be (and was) a witness to the Resurrection.   Even his selection was not overly noteworthy, in that there was at least one other who met the requirements (Joseph Barsabbas AKA Justus), and after prayer lots were cast between the two.  Matthias’ lot came up and he became an Apostle.  (This may actually not be a bad way to elect ecclesiastical authorities, especially the part where the qualifications are to be a follower of Jesus and a witness to the Resurrection.)

Other than that, there are scattered traditions about his ministry in what is now Georgia and his method of death circa 80 AD.

So he is not well known, and I expect among Christians is essentially unknown or un-thought of today.  Yet, I find this strangely comforting.  Today we remember an Apostle who was simply faithful and lived out his vocation.  In today’s environment of “rock star” pastors doing the publishing and talk show circuits, who attract crowds of devoted fans, and over whom the media fawn, it is a comfort to remember Matthias.   Matthias is truly a patron saint for those who quietly work the vineyard of the Lord and striving to remain faithful to their vocations and their Master.  May Matthias be an example to all Christians in their work, and as we remember Matthias may we be assured that our God will remember us in the same way.

Blessed Matthias, pray for us.

Back in Black

Over the winter I abandoned my experiment with wearing a cassock every day. This was mainly due to the inconvenience of being cold and not wanting to pay regular cleaning fees after getting snow, slush, and mud splattered.  However, having been, shall we say, gently reminded by herself, I am back to wearing it on a daily basis. I now return to my regularly scheduled experiment.  I hope that it is habit forming.

In my jaunt across the interwebs, I found this video of an Orthodox abbot discussing his reasoning for clerical attire.

Ash Wednesday 2015 (Repost)

I am re-posting part of last year’s first ever post, and realize that I have not posted in a very long time.  Why?  Well, I hate to write, got busy, whatever excuse fits here.  So, one of my Lenten disciplines is to post on a weekly basis, at least.  It may not be much, but it will be something to start a habit (no pun intended).

Here is the re-post.

I recently enjoyed a very special cigar as I was working my way through a demanding text.  I was alone, and thought it a good day to dive into my reserve.  That particular cigar was a Tatuaje robusto, and it has been aging for four years and was a thoroughly delightful creamy smoke. In fact, I delighted in this cigar so much, that I closed the book and just enjoyed the experience of the taste, the smell, and watching the smoke curl toward the ceiling and fill the room with its aroma.  It tasted of heavy cream, cinnamon, clove, and a slight hint of pepper.  The room note reminded me of “Blanc” incense.  So, I just sat back and relaxed, and tried to make it last as long as possible.

Unfortunately, as with all good cigars, at the end of the hour there was just a pile of ash left in the tray, and a memory of that smoke upon my taste buds.  I was sorely tempted to open the box and smoke another, but realized that would not be a wise decision, and looked with a bit of melancholy at the remains of what had been a great cigar, and was not but just a memory.  This is the fate of all cigars and pipe tobacco, no matter how expensive, how great, how cheap, or how terrible, all of them become just a pile of ash at the end of the day.  They burn up, they burn out, and they are no more than a memory.

Is that not the lesson of Ash Wednesday?  We are all destined to be just like that great cigar.  No matter our station in life, rich/poor, wise/foolish, Republican/Democrat, beautiful/homely, or any other label, we are all destined to become nothing but a pile of ash.  We will die.  This is not because we are “used up”, but because of the effects of Sin. As the Good Book says, “The wages of sin is death”, and we all get paid.

However, this is what makes the Christian faith different; we have hope beyond the ashiness of our existence.  Because of Christ, his Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, we have hope that this mortal body, though used up and ashy, will be raised and made new.  Because of Christ, death is not the end, and those who are found in Him will be raised like him.

On this day, when we remember our mortality, our common destiny to be put a pile of ash, let us repent and return to the Lord who can raise a pile of ash to new life.

May you have blessed Ash Wednesday.