Dawn was all greys and yellows and whites...

Earlier; indeed, she looked like a mass of bruises. Still, the skies seem to be clearing at this point-- it's nearing half past seven-- and perhaps it won't rain today.  It is the feast of the Apostle Saint Matthias (CE, Introibo, Wiki) and Saint-Eugène will stream Holy Mass at what is the usual hour, 1000; it is also the Wednesday Ember Day in Lent. Father Mershman begins with the 11th century but in fact the Quattuor Tempora are days set apart for fasting and penitence of quite ancient institution, even perhaps apostolic institution. Dr Gregory DiPippo posted this article on the Lenten Ember Days on Friday 26th. 

The feast of St Matthias must have been included in the Roman Calendar between the 9th and the 11th centuries, for although it is wanting in the earliest Roman Sacramentaries, yet it is to be found in the Antiphonary of the Vatican Basilica of the 11th century. The Basilica of St Mary Major has claimed to possess for at least nine centuries the relics of St Matthias, whose likeness was reproduced in mosaic on the facade of that church by order of Pope Eugenius III (1145-53). In the course of years practically all record of this apostle has perished, from whose teaching St Clement of Alexandria has transmitted to us this beautiful maxim: 'We must wholly subdue the body through mortification, subjecting it to the spirit of the crucified Jesus'. 
The Mass, with the exception of the Lessons and the Collects, has borrowed its antiphons and responsories from other feasts of the apostles.... In the Collect we recall the wonderful manner in which St Matthias was chosen to the Apostolate, and we implore the divine mency, which called him to such a sublime dignity, to have compassion on ourselves also. 'O God, who didst join blessed Matthias to the company of thine apostles; grant we beseech thee, that, by his intercession, we may enjoy for evermore thy compassion and lovingkindness towards us. Through our Lord'. 

The Lesson from the Acts of the Apostles (I 15-26) relates how Matthias was elected to fill the place of the traitor Judas, and we should notice that Matthias is only the second of the candidates presented to the apostles by the assembly of the brethren. Yet the Holy Ghost, passing over Joseph called Barnabas, known as the Just, chooses instead Matthias, as though to show that His favours are for the humble, for those who are less appreciated by men, and who by their very weakness are more docile and more responsive to the inspiration of grace.... (T)he Tract (Psalm XX 3-4) is recited instead, as on Saint Valentine’s day. 


The Gospel (Matt XI 25-30) shows forth clearly the merit of Matthias in contrast to the apostle whose place he took. The latter was a clever manager, prudent according to the world’s standard, and one who, having been raised to the dignity of an apostle, seemed undoubtedly to have a splendid future before him. Matthias was not in any way distinguished amongst the disciples of Jesus, and nothing gave reason to anticipate his possible future. Yet Judas, in spite of external appearances and the judgement of men, was, according to the testimony of Our Saviour himself, possessed of an evil spirit, condemned on account of his malicious obstinacy, whilst the name of Matthias, the obscure and half-forgotten proselyte, was already inscribed in heaven on the roll of the twelve apostles, the twelve foundation-stones of the Church. The Offertory is taken from Psalm XLIV 44: 'Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth: they shall remember thy name, O Lord, in every progeny and generation'. 

The Secret is as follows: 'May the prayer of holy Matthias thy apostle speed the offerings which we make to thy name, O Lord; and grant that by it we may be both forgiven and defended. Through our Lord'. In the Sacramentaries we have, instead, this prayer: Deus, qui proditoris apostatae ruinam, ne Apostolorum tuorum numerus sacratus perfectione careret, beati Matthiae electione supplesti; praesentia munera sanctifica, et per ea nos gratiae tuae virtute confirma.... The Communion is from Matthew XIX, 28: 'Ye who have followed me shall sit on seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel'. 

The merit of the holy apostles does not so much lie in the fact that they abandoned all things, for the cynics also did this, as St Jerome observes, but that they followed Christ, which was a proof of their unbounded faith. After the Communion this prayer is said: 'Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, that by means of these holy mysteries which we have received, through the intercession of thy blessed apostle Matthias, we may obtain pardon and peace. Through our Lord'....
When St Matthias urged with so much earnestness the necessity of subjecting the body to the soul, how vividly must he have beheld before him the image of Christ upon the cross. Indeed, there is no other argument which convinces us so effectively of the necessity of Christian mortification as the thought that Christ, before entering into his glory, oportuit pati, even to becoming the 'Man of Sorrows'.

While I don't do podcasts, or not very often anyway, I note this first episode of the third series at Square Notes featuring a conversation with Sir James MacMillan. I'm sure I won't regret abandoning my usual avoidance for this. There are actually several episodes that are of interest-- I ought to look more often at the website, tsk, or at the iPad app. 

It is also the feast of Saint Evetius (4th century), of Saint Arnaldus (14th century), and of Blessed Berta (12th century).

V. Et álibi aliórum plurimórum sanctórum Mártyrum et Confessórum, atque sanctárum Vírginum.
R. Deo grátias.