Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven Apostles. ?Acts 1:26
I had the honour of reading at mass on May 14th – the Feast of St. Matthias. I arrived just a few minutes before mass began and I was approached to read. Of course, I accepted. I was moved by the above quote from scripture. Both Matthias and Joseph Barsabbas were suggested, and Peter led the small group. He prayed and asked the Lord for guidance. And Matthias was chosen to replace the fallen Judas. I told my parish priest how much I was impressed by this feast day. The priest wears red because Matthias was martyred. Yes, very little is known about his life and there are conflicting stories about him. What goes through my mind when I reflect on this day is how Matthias accepted the decision of the Apostles and the rest of the small group. He obeyed. He accepted his lot and maybe even he wondered ‘why me?’ in all of it. But he accepted. How often do we ask God ‘why me?’ I ask God this all the time in prayer. But the Lord has big shoulders, and he can handle the questions.
“…One must obey God more than men. If something is demanded of us that goes against God or the faith, then not only may we but we must, refuse obedience towards men.” Blessed Nikolaus Gross
I have watched people all my life help others. My parents give without counting the cost. It is incredible to watch. Some people never complain about what God sends them. So many of us shirk responsibilities because it is too much to bear. Yes, what God asks of us is difficult sometimes. But we must be strong and remember that what He asks of us is for our good. How do we know this? We need to look at the examples of such great saints and prophets who might have had a first reaction of a NO answer. Jonah didn’t want to preach to Nineveh. Job did not ask to be tested. Peter was ready to leave Rome when the persecutions began but Christ met him at the gate and wondered where he was heading. Peter returned to meet his fate.
“When I have a problem, I ask the saint (Therese) not to solve it, but to take it in her hands and help me accept it.” Pope Francis
One saint jumped out at me these days. Blessed Elzbieta Roza Czacka was born in the late 1800s. Her eyesight deteriorated until she was completely blind at age 22. Instead of complaining, she said yes to what the Lord proposed to her. By 1909, her and a group of friends began a shelter and school for blind girls. She began a community called the Franciscan Sisters of the Cross during a very difficult period of war and instability. Despite a stroke, she continued to persevere in prayer. So often, we are tempted to give up in prayer while we wonder if God is listening. For sure He is listening but not in the way we expect. He knows what He wants for His children and for His church. Are we listening the way Matthias listened?
“Go Courageously to God, along the way He has traced out for you, steadfastly embracing the means He offers you.” St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Do we ask the Lord for help? Is Christ really the answer for our hearts? I question myself all the time. Another person I found interesting was Saint Isidore the Farmer. He and his wife, St. Mary de la Cabeza had a son who died; they then discerned that God did not want them to have children. I wondered how they reached that decision to live the rest of their lives celibately in their marriage. Isidore followed what God wanted and when he was attacked for skipping work for Church, he found angels plowing the fields. His body remains incorrupt. So often, I need to make my way to daily mass before work or after, depending on my schedule during the week. Matthais, Elzbieta, Isidore all lived in very different circumstances, yet they still had time for Christ. He was their priority before all else. In a busy world, God is still calling each one of us. The question for me is: Are we listening?
“In prayer, more is accomplished by listening than by talking. Let us leave to God the decisions as to what shall be said.” St. Francis de Sales