Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

Feast of Saint Matthias, Apostle

May 14, 2021

St. Matthias by Simone Martini (c.1718). Martini (c. 1284 – 1344) was an Italian painter born in Siena. He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothicstyle.

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 113, a prayer whose tone echoes the sentiments of Matthias’s choice as one of the Final Twelve: thanksgiving, joy, hope, and enthusiasm.

Praise, you servants of the LORD,
    praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
    both now and forever.

Psalm 113: 1-2

Picture the Eleven gathered. The shadow of Judas had been erased in the light of the Resurrection. But no mistake had been made in Judas. There were lessons in his shadow that could not have otherwise been learned – by the early Church and by us.

Christ taking leave of the Eleven from the Maestà by Duccio, c. 1310

But we’ll leave those lessons for another time. Today’s feast is about the back-up guy who was God’s first choice all along.

I think about how Matthias stayed in the running for that seat. He was faithful all along. Even when the plot twisted around Judas, still day and night, Matthias trusted God’s plan.

From the rising to the setting of the sun
    is the name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
    above the heavens is his glory.

Psalm 113: 3-4

As we honor St. Matthias today, let’s ask for the gifts of faithful courage and trusting humility even when life’s script seems to falter. God doesn’t make mistakes, and God is with us until the shadow disappears in Light.


The Lord takes up the weak out of the dust
and lifts up the poor from the ashes. 
The Lord sets them with the wise ones,
with the leaders of the people.

Psalm 113: 7-8

Poetry: St. Matthias Day – John Keble, (1792-1866) was an English churchman and poet, one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement. Keble College, Oxford, was named after him.


Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto the same day that He was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.
Acts i. 21, 22.

Who is God's chosen priest?
He, who on Christ stands waiting day and night,
Who traceth His holy steps, nor ever ceased,
From Jordan banks to Bethphage height:

Who hath learned lowliness
From his Lord's cradle, patience from His Cross;
Whom poor men's eyes and hearts consent to bless;
To whom, for Christ, the world is loss;

Who both in agony
Hath seen Him and in glory; and in both
Owned Him divine, and yielded, nothing loth,
Body and soul, to live and die,

In witness of his Lord,
In humble following of his Saviour dear:
This is the man to wield th' unearthly sword,
Warring unharmed with sin and fear.

But who can o'er suffice-
What mortal-for this more than angels' task,
Winning or losing souls, Thy life-blood's price?
The gift were too divine to ask.

But Thou hast made it sure
By Thy dear promise to thy Church and Bride,
That Thou, on earth, wouldst aye with her endure,
Till earth to Heaven be purified.

Thou art her only spouse,
Whose arm supports her, on Whose faithful breast
Her persecuted head she meekly bows,
Sure pledge of her eternal rest.

Thou, her unerring guide,
Stayest her fainting steps along the wild;
Thy merit is on the bowers of lust and pride,
That she may pass them undefiled.

Who then, uncalled by Thee,
Dare touch Thy spouse, Thy very self below?
Or who dare count him summoned worthily,
Except Thine hand and seal he show?

Where can Thy seal be found,
But on thou chosen seed, from age to age
By thine anointed heralds duly crowned,
As kings and priests Thy war to wage?

Then fearless walk we forth,
Yet full of trembling, Messengers of God:
Our warrant sure, but doubting of our worth,
By our own shame alike and glory awed.

Dread Searcher of the hearts,
Thou who didst seal by Thy descending Dove
Thy servant's choice, O help us in our parts,
Else helpless found, to learn and teach Thy love.

Music: Laudate Pueri Dominum – Felix Mendelssohn 

Psalm 113: Over All the Earth

Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

October 12, 2020


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 113, a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, focusing our praise on the Name of the Lord.

Praise, you servants of the LORD,
praise the name of the LORD.
Blessed be the name of the LORD
both now and forever.

Psalm 113:1-2

A particularly beautiful dynamic emerges in the following verse:

From the rising to the setting of the sun
is the Name of the LORD to be praised.
High above all nations is the LORD;
above the heavens is his glory.

Psalm 113:3-4

Praying this verse, we might picture the sun slowly lighting and darkening the contrapuntal curves of the earth.

Within that inverse yet complementary rhythm, the morning and evening prayers of believers encircle the globe. The whole Church, the Communion of Saints, each takes up its part in the prayerful caress of our world.

As I go to sleep at night, I know someone is waking on the other side of the world with the Holy Name on her lips. When I rise in the morning, I lift that song from the semi-darkness to offer my part to the Great Embrace.

Each morning and evening, I pray for my blog followers, thinking of their moment in this universal prayer. I imagine that prayer dawning near St. Barbara Catholic School in Guam, then drifting westward to Australia, Uzbekistan, Rome, and the little village of Hampstead Norreys, England.

I see it reach the shores of the Americas, deepening as it resounds in various languages through Rio de Janeiro, Haiti, Guyana, and Chulucanas, Peru.

I feel the warm healing of God’s Name prayed over my own country from Silver Spring, MD to McAllen, TX; from Dubuque, IA to Sacramento, then on again over the Pacific.

As each of us joins this global song of praise, let us be aware of the Infinite Power Who holds us all within the Divine Song – beyond time, beyond borders, beyond space, beyond any comprehension but Love.

Praise the Lord,
the Unnamable, the All-Perfect, the Inconceivable, 
who, higher than the highest heavens, 
stoops to the lowest of the low, 
who raises the poor from the dunghill 
and lifts the wretched from the dust, 
who grants them an infinite abundance 
and showers them with all good things.

from A Book of Psalm Selections Adapted from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell

Music:  Praise the Lord, Psalm 113 – Blanca Vega and Roby Duke

Psalm 113: Awesome!

Wednesday of the Nineteenth Week in Ordinary Time

August 12, 2020

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 113, a magnificent hymn praising God in the heavens. 

The psalm is commonly used at Vespers, the evening prayer of the Church – and no wonder. How often in the evening do we look to the glorious skies, emblazoned with the setting sun, and turn our minds to God!

Who is like the LORD, our God, who is enthroned on high,
and looks upon the heavens and the earth below?


It is in contemplating the sky’s immensity that we begin to appreciate the Divine Infinity.


Last night, I FaceTimed with my niece and her toddler boy, a joy she frequently offers me. During the call, my grandnephew carried his little tablet to the window, opened his “SkyView” app, and began exploring the heavens. Even the youngest “pueri” (Latin for “boys, children, servants”) spontaneously offer our Vespers in answer to God’s Beauty!


As we pray this psalm, at whatever time of day, we can let ourselves rest in silent awe, aware of God’s majesty – that Majesty which deigns to create, love and eternally sustain each one of us beloved “pueri”.


Poetry: Stars by Majorie Pickthall

Photo by Ruvim on Pexels.com
Now in the West the slender moon lies low, 
And now Orion glimmers through the trees, 
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow, 
And now the stately-moving Pleiades, 
In that soft infinite darkness overhead 
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread. 
And all the lonelier stars that have their place, 
Calm lamps within the distant southern sky, 
And planet-dust upon the edge of space, 
Look down upon the fretful world, and I 
Look up to outer vastness unafraid 
And see the stars which sang when earth was made. 

Music: Laudate Pueri – Claudio Monteverdi

Laudate, pueri, Dominum; 
laudate nomen Domini.
Sit nomen Domini benedictum 
ex hoc nunc et usque in saeculum.
A solis ortu usque ad occasum 
laudabile nomen Domini.
Excelsus super omnes gentes Dominus, 
et super caelos gloria ejus.
Quis sicut Dominus Deus noster, 
qui in altis habitat, 
et humilia respicit in caelo et in terra?
Suscitans a terra inopem, 
et de stercore erigens pauperem:
ut collocet eum cum principibus, 
cum principibus populi sui.
Qui habitare facit sterilem in domo, 
matrem filiorum laetantem.