The response was immediate. The corrupt collector of tribute for the Roman occupiers, Levi, heard the call of Jesus of Nazareth and gave up his lucrative business at once. He went from being Caesar's collector of tribute to being God's collector souls. Levi, also known as Matthew, recorded his specific call to be one of the twelve Apostles in the Gospel he wrote under the inspiration of the the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, within the first decade following Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Ascension to the Father's right hand in glory on Ascension Thursday:
And when Jesus passed on from hence, he saw a man sitting in the custom house, named Matthew; and he saith to him: Follow me. And he rose up and followed him. And it came to pass as he was sitting at meat in the house, behold many publicans and sinners came, and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.
And the Pharisees seeing it, said to his disciples: Why doth your master eat with publicans and sinners? But Jesus hearing it, said: They that are in health need not a physician, but they that are ill. Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners. (Mt. 9: 9-13)
Matthew left a sinful life to follow Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ during His Public Ministry, joining Saint John the Beloved as one of the two Apostles who were also evangelists. Saint Matthew's immediate response to the call of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ reminds us of the fact that Our Lord beckons us to follow Him throughout the course our lives, starting in Baptism, when we become incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ as members of the Catholic Church. Our souls are closer to God than the angels themselves at the moment of our Baptism.
Fallen human nature being what it is, however, we fall away from our initial call. Our Venial Sins incline us all the more to serve at the beck and call of our pride and our passions. Our unchecked falling into Venial Sins can lead, God forbid, into the horror of Mortal Sin, making us the enemies of God until we are reconciled to Him in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. As Saint Matthew's example teaches us, however, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has come to call the sinners to Himself. Thus it is that He seeks out His lost sheep, namely, us, if we fall into Mortal Sins so that our immortal souls, once regenerated in the life-giving waters of the Baptismal font, can be resuscitated from the spiritual death we had chosen for ourselves. Extending to us His ineffable, gratuitous, unmerited Mercy, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ asks us to follow Him anew once as an alter Christus Absolves us of our sins and assigns to us a penance as a condition of the Absolution that has restored us to His friendship once again.
Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ bids us to follow Him in all of the circumstances of our lives, making sure that there is never even once moment when we are not conscious of the fact that we give unto Him all of our sufferings and merits and prayers through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. We are called to bear a visible, tangible witness to Him and the truths He has entrusted solely to Holy Mother Church by means of Sacred Scripture and Apostolic (or Sacred) Tradition, the two sources of Divine Revelation.
Saint Matthew, who was called from a life of sin to help call each us to a life of holiness, wrote his Gospel to help his fellow Jews to see in Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ the Messiah for Whom they had been waiting. As a faithful follower of Our Lord, Saint Matthew wanted all people in the world, including Jews, to walk on the rocky road that leads to the narrow Gate of Life Himself as members of the Catholic Church. Endowed with the personal charism of infallibility (as were each of the Twelve Apostles following the descent of God the Holy Ghost upon them and our dear Blessed Mother on Pentecost Sunday), Saint Matthew preached with clarity and conviction about the necessity of embracing the true Faith so that his hearers could save their souls. He brought the true Faith to Persia and to Ethiopia, where he would give up his life as a witness to the very words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ that He recorded in the Gospel he wrote under the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost:
Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Mt. 10: 26-30)
Saint Matthew's Gospel starts with the Genealogy of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, containing with its vivid text a narrative of His Nativity and the Sermon on the Mount (Chapters 5 through 7), which is a great resource for spiritual reading and encouragement on a daily basis. And Saint Matthew records the words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as He upbraided the Jews for their disbelief in Him, words that could be addressed to the wolves in shepherds' clothing in the conciliar structures, men who sit down with unbelievers and infidels and schismatics and heretics without once seeking to convert them to the true Faith:
Woe to thee, Corozain, woe to thee, Bethsaida: for if in Tyre and Sidon had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in you, they had long ago done penance in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you. And thou Capharnaum, shalt thou be exalted up to heaven? thou shalt go down even unto hell. For if in Sodom had been wrought the miracles that have been wrought in thee, perhaps it had remained unto this day. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee. At that time Jesus answered and said: I confess to thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to the little ones. (Mt. 11: 21-25)
Miracles wrought by Our Divine Redeemer were recorded by Saint Matthew in his Gospel, including two accounts the multiplication loaves and fishes, the first feeding five thousand men and the second feeding four thousand men, miracles that were deconstructed by Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M., Cap., the preacher to the "papal" household, three years ago when he said that Our Lord had inspired the crowd to share what they had brought with him. There is, of course, not a shred of Patristic support for this blasphemous denial of the plain meaning of these words:
And he coming forth saw a great multitude, and had compassion on them, and healed their sick. And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying: This is a desert place, and the hour is now past: send away the multitudes, that going into the towns, they may buy themselves victuals.
But Jesus said to them, They have no need to go: give you them to eat. They answered him: We have not here, but five loaves, and two fishes. He said to them: Bring them hither to me. And when he had commanded the multitudes to sit down upon the grass, he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. And they did all eat, and were filled. And they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments. And the number of them that did eat, was five thousand men, besides women and children. (Mt. 14: 14-21)
Here is the second account of such a miracle, a prefiguring of the Eucharist, in Saint Matthew's Gospel:
So that the multitudes marvelled seeing the dumb speak, the lame walk, and the blind see: and they glorified the God of Israel. And Jesus called together his disciples, and said: I have compassion on the multitudes, because they continue with me now three days, and have not what to eat, and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. And the disciples say unto him: Whence then should we have so many loaves in the desert, as to fill so great a multitude? And Jesus said to them: How many loaves have you? But they said: Seven, and a few little fishes. And he commanded the multitude to sit down upon the ground.
And taking the seven loaves and the fishes, and giving thanks, he brake, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the people. And they did all eat, and had their fill. And they took up seven baskets full, of what remained of the fragments. And they that did eat, were four thousand men, beside children and women. And having dismissed the multitude, he went up into a boat, and came into the coasts of Magedan. (Mt. 15: 31-39)
Chapter 16 of Saint Matthew's Gospel contains the wonderful passage describing the selection of Saint Peter to be the visible head of the true Church on earth. The Orthodox have been deconstructing the passage below for over a thousand years. Protestants have been doing so for half of a millennium. Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and Jorge Mario Bergoglio/Francis have been willing to "finesse" its plain meaning so as to accommodate both the Orthodox and the Protestants. The passage is clear, however: the Church founded by Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church, is founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope:
And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?
Simon Peter answered and said: Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven. And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven. Then he commanded his disciples, that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ. (Mt. 16: 14-20)
Saint Matthew includes his account of the Transfiguration and also provides one of the Scriptural proofs that the Church has used for Purgatory from time immemorial:
Then came Peter unto him and said: Lord, how often shall my brother offend against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith to him: I say not to thee, till seven times; but till seventy times seven times. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened to a king, who would take an account of his servants. And when he had begun to take the account, one was brought to him, that owed him ten thousand talents. And as he had not wherewith to pay it, his lord commanded that he should be sold, and his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made.
But that servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And the lord of that servant being moved with pity, let him go and forgave him the debt. But when that servant was gone out, he found one of his fellow servants that owed him an hundred pence: and laying hold of him, throttled him, saying: Pay what thou owest. And his fellow servant falling down, besought him, saying: Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he paid the debt.
Now his fellow servants seeing what was done, were very much grieved, and they came and told their lord all that was done. Then his lord called him; and said to him: Thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all the debt, because thou besoughtest me: Shouldst not thou then have had compassion also on thy fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee? And his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturers until he paid all the debt. So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts. (Mt. 18: 21-35)
Yes, we must forgive those who sin against without any limit whatsoever. There is nothing that anyone says about us or does to us that is the equal of what one of our least Venial Sins caused Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to suffer in His Passion and Death and that caused those Seven Swords of Sorrow to be plunged through and through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of His Most Blessed Mother. Indeed, if we are truly honest with ourselves, as most of us are not most of the time (!), we might realize that our sins deserve far, far worse than what we are actually permitted to suffer in this mortal vale of tears. And what we are called to suffer in this life is our passageway to eternity, being thus given numerous opportunities to help make reparation for our sins by offering up all of our sufferings to God through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Even though a soul may die in a state of Sanctifying Grace, you see, it still owes a debt for each forgiven Mortal Sin and for each Venial Sin (and its general attachment to sin) after death if it has not paid back that debt by the embrace of suffering during life. Purgatory is thus proved by this passage from Saint Matthew's Gospel.
Another difficult passage for the Orthodox and the Protestants, as well for some conciliar shepherds and Modernist "theologians," involves the plain words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ recorded by Saint Matthew concerning the indissolubility of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, that no power on earth can dissolve a sacramentally valid, ratified and consummated marriage:
And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan. And great multitudes followed him: and he healed them there. And there came to him the Pharisees tempting him, and saying: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? Who answering, said to them: Have ye not read, that he who made man from the beginning, Made them male and female? And he said: For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh.
Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. They say to him: Why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away? He saith to them: Because Moses by reason of the hardness of your heart permitted you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery. (Mt. 19: 1-9)
Saint Matthew also records the words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ concerning the fact that we must keep watch for His "coming" at all times, meaning not only His Second Coming in glory at the end of time but His coming for us at the moment of our Particular Judgments, which most of us, not being mystics given to know this information (Saint Hyacinth, for example, was given to know the exact date upon which he would die, on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady into Heaven when he was seventy-two years of age), do not know and must be thoroughly prepared to encounter:
But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone. And as in the days of Noe, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark, And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left. (Mt. 24: 36-40)
Those who doubt the eternity of Hell, such as the late Hans Urs von Balthasar, one of the now-retired Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's chief mentors, have to twist and turn and do all sorts of intellectual contentions, which come from Hell, by the way, to deny these plain words about the Last Judgment that Saint Matthew recorded for us under the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost:
And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:
Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.
Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me. And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting. (Mt. 25: 31-36)
Ah yes, "everlasting punishment." And Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ mentions that it is important to give food and drink to those who are hungry and thirsty, referring to both spiritual nourishment for the soul and physical food and drink for the body. We serve Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself when we serve the spiritual and temporal needs of others, when we perform, that is, the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy.
Finally, Saint Matthew provides us with the very words that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ spoke to the Eleven before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory forty days after His Resurrection on Easter Sunday:
And the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And seeing them they adored: but some doubted. And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying: All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. (Mt. 28: 16-20)
As noted earlier, Saint Matthew took this quite seriously, setting out after Pentecost Sunday to seek with urgency the conversion of his own people and those of other regions to whom he was sent by God the Holy Ghost. The mission that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles as recorded in Saint Matthew's Gospel is as applicable today as it was nearly two millennia ago when He spoke the words before He Ascension into Heaven. These words are binding on all Catholics until Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ's Second Coming in glory at the end of time.
There was never a time in the history of the Catholic Church prior to the false "pontificate" of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII that any true pope sought to discourage conversions to the Catholic Church, thereby indicating, either implicitly or explicitly, that individuals are absolutely safe unto eternity in all manner of false religions, that is is a "sin" against the heresy of "religious liberty" to engage in the sort of "proselytism" that characterized the entire work of the Church from her birth on Pentecost Sunday to the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958. This demonstrates that the conciliar church is a counterfeit church that has a mission from the devil to deconstruct the plain meaning of Sacred Scripture and of Apostolic (or Sacred) Tradition in order to accommodate itself to the "needs" of the "modern" world. The apostasy of ecumenism, including "inter-religious prayer meetings," for example, violates the command that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ gave to the Apostles as it also violates the First Commandment and reaffirms souls in false religion as it gives scandal to Catholics.
Consider this telling passage from Pope Saint Pius X's Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907:
They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those "who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind...or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church"; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: "We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by everyone of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church." Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: "I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.''
The Modernists pass judgment on the holy Fathers of the Church even as they do upon tradition. With consummate temerity they assure the public that the Fathers, while personally most worthy of all veneration, were entirely ignorant of history and criticism, for which they are only excusable on account of the time in which they lived. Finally, the Modernists try in every way to diminish and weaken the authority of the ecclesiastical magisterium itself by sacrilegiously falsifying its origin, character, and rights, and by freely repeating the calumnies of its adversaries. To the entire band of Modernists may be applied those words which Our predecessor sorrowfully wrote: "To bring contempt and odium on the mystic Spouse of Christ, who is the true light, the children of darkness have been wont to cast in her face before the world a stupid calumny, and perverting the meaning and force of things and words, to depict her as the friend of darkness and ignorance, and the enemy of light, science, and progress.'' This being so, Venerable Brethren, there is little reason to wonder that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that renders them redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack. This policy towards Catholics is the more invidious in that they belaud with admiration which knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, exuding novelty in every page, with a chorus of applause. For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium. (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
It is not only the Fathers who are subject to the contempt of the Modernists, including Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is visting Albania today and will not, of course, seek the unconditional conversion of anyone there. The words of Sacred Scripture must be deconstructed of their plain meaning by the use of the "historical-critical" method of Biblical "scholarship," thus making the Gospel of Saint Matthew, for instance, the plaything of the individual exegete. There is, of course, another word for this: Protestantism, which was founded in the belief that the Magisterium of the Catholic Church was an unreliable guide for the interpretation of Scripture.
In these days of apostasy and betrayal, we must turn to the words of Sacred Scripture, including the words of Saint Matthew's Gospel, to have our sensus Catholicus reinforced. Remember that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ prophesied that we would be opposed by those within our very household, which means not only our own families but also the household of the Church herself:
The brother also shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the son: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and shall put them to death. And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute you in this city, flee into another. Amen I say to you, you shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the goodman of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his household?
Therefore fear them not. For nothing is covered that shall not be revealed: nor hid, that shall not be known. That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light: and that which you hear in the ear, preach ye upon the housetops. And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and not one of them shall fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Fear not therefore: better are you than many sparrows. Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.
And as a man's enemies shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me, is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it. He that receiveth you, receiveth me: and he that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me. (Mt. 10: 21-40)
In these days when the Modernists have traditional Catholics of all stripes in each of the warring camps shooting at each in a manner that rivals the sectarian warfare within Syria and Iraq at present, may these words of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ recorded in Saint Matthew's Gospel help us to focus on defending the truths of the Faith against their deconstruction and denial by clever men who cleave to the revolutionary formulas of conciliarism. The cleverness of the conciliarists comes from the devil and it leads to Hell. May Saint Matthew inspire us to be willing to die, both figuratively and literally, for our insistence on absolute fidelity to the totality of the Deposit of Faith, both in Sacred Scripture and in Apostolic Tradition, so that we can be, with him, a collector souls for the true Church that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope.
With total confidence in Our Lady to guide us as we keep close to her through her Most Holy Rosary and fulfill her Fatima Message in our own daily lives as the consecrated slaves of her Divine Son through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, we know that there will be a day, perhaps not in our lifetimes, when simple Catholic sanity will prevail as the Church Militant on earth is restored and as Christendom is established once again after the "bastions of Modernity and Modernism" are razed and become part of the dust bin of history.
Vivat Christus Rex! Vivat Maria Regina Immaculata!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Matthew the Apostle, pray for us.
Isn't time to pray a Rosary now?
From Blessed Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend on the Life of Saint Matthew
Matthew the apostle, preaching in Ethiopia, in the city that is said Nadaber, found there two enchanters named Zaroes and Arphaxat, which enchanted the men by their art, so that whom that they would, should seem that thy were prived of the health and office of their members. Which were so elevated in pride that they made them to be honoured as gods. Then Matthew the apostle entered into that city and was lodged with the eunuch of Candace, the queen, whom Philip baptized. Then he discovered the faits and deeds of the enchanters in this manner, that all that they did to men into hurt, that turned Matthew into health. Then this eunuch demanded of Saint Matthew how he spake and understood so many tongues. And then Matthew told him how the Holy Ghost descended and had given to the apostles all science of tongues. That like as they had emprised by their pride to make the tower unto heaven which ceased by confusion of tongues that were changed, all in like wise the apostles made a tower of sciences of tongues, and nothing of stones but of virtues, by the which all that believe shall mount up into heaven.
Then came before them a man that said that the enchanters were come with two dragons, which cast fire and sulphur by their mouths and nostrils, and slew all the men. Then the apostle garnished him with the sign of the cross and went out surely to them, and anon as these dragons saw him, anon they came and slept at his feet. Then said Matthew to the enchanters: Where is your craft? Awake ye them if ye may; and if I would pray our Lord, that which ye would have committed in me, I should soon execute on you. And when the people were assembled, he commanded the dragons that they should depart without hurting of any, and they went anon.
And the apostle there made a great sermon of the glory of paradise terrestrial, saying that it appeared above all the mountains and was nigh unto heaven, and that there were neither thorns ne rocks, and that the lilies and roses flourished always and waxed never old; but the people were there always young, and the sound of angels sounded there always, and the birds came anon as they were called. And said that out of this paradise was a man cast, but he was called to the paradise of heaven by the nativity of our Lord. And as he said these words to the people, anon a great noise arose, and a great weeping was made for the son of the king which was dead, and when these enchanters might not raise him, they made the king believe that he was ravished into the company of the gods, and that he should make to him a temple and an image. And then the foresaid eunuch, keeper of the queen Candace, made the enchanters to be kept, and sent for the apostle. And when the apostle was come he made his prayer and raised the king’s son anon. And then the king, which was named Egippus, sent for all the men in his provinces saying to them: Come and see ye God in the likeness of a man. And then the people came with crowns of gold and divers manner of sacrifices, and would have sacrificed to him, and then Saint Matthew beheld them and said: What do ye men? I am not God, but I am servant of our Lord. And by the commandment of him they made a great church of the gold and silver that they had brought, which in thirty days space was edified and achieved. In which church the apostle sat three and thirty years, and converted all Ethiopia to the faith of Christ. And then the king Egippus, with his wife and his daughter, and all the people, were baptized. And then the apostle hallowed to God Ephigenia the king’s daughter, and made her mistress and governess of more than two hundred virgins.
And after this, Hirtacus succeeded to the king, and coveted the said virgin Ephigenia, and promised to the apostle half his realm if he would make her consent to be his wife; and the apostle said to him that after the custom of his predecessor he should come on the Sunday to the church, and Ephigenia being present with the other virgins, he should hear what he should say of the goodness of lawful marriage. And then he departed with great joy, and supposed that he would have stirred Ephigenia to his marriage. And when the virgins and all the people were assembled, he spake long of good and lawful matrimony, and was much allowed of the king, which supposed that he had said for to have joined the virgin to him for to consent the marriage. Then when silence was made, he made rehearsal of his sermon saying that marriage is good if it be truly held by good alliance. But ye that be here, know ye well that if any servant would take the wife of a king wedded he should not only run to the offence of the king, but above that he should deserve death, and not for to wed her, but for that he in so taking the spouse of his lord should corrupt the marriage joined. And thou the king that knew that Ephigenia is made the spouse of the king perdurable, and is sacred with the holy veil, how mayst thou take the wife of a more puissant king and couple her to thee by marriage? And when the king heard this he began to enrage and departed all wood and frantic. And the apostle without dread confirmed all the others to patience. And Ephigenia, Iying tofore him for dread, he blessed, and all the other virgins also. And after the solemnities of the mass, the king sent a tormentor which slew Matthew with a sword behind him, which was standing by the altar holding up his hands into heaven, and so was consecrate a martyr. And then all the people would have gone into the palace for to have slain the king, and with great pain were they holden of the priests and deacons, and hallowed with great joy the martyrdom of the apostle. And the king then sent to Ephigenia matrons and enchantresses, but for all them, when he saw that he might not turn her courage ne draw her to him in no manner, he environed and beset the house of her with a right great fire, for to burn her and all the other virgins. And then the holy apostle appeared at the fire and put out the fire about the house, and it took the palace of the king, so that it burnt and consumed all that was therein, that none escaped save the king and his son only. And the son was ravished of the devil and began to cry and confess his father’s sins, and went to the sepulchre of the apostle. And the father was made a foul mesel, and when he saw that he might not be cured, he slew himself with his own hand with a sword. And the people then established for to be king, the brother of Ephigenia whom the apostle had baptized, and reigned seventy years, and established his son for to be king after him, and increased much the honour of christian men, and replenished all Ethiopia with noble churches of our Lord. And then Zaroes and Arphaxat fled into Persia from the day that the apostle raised the son of the king, but Saint Simon and Saint Jude vanquished them there. And know ye that four things be principally considered in the blessed Saint Matthew. The first is the hastiness of obedience, for as soon as our Lord called him, he left all and doubted nothing of the Lord, and left the reckonings of his receipts imperfect, and joined him perfectly to our Lord Jesu Christ. And for this hasty obedience some took occasion of error in themselves, like as Saint Jerome recordeth in the original upon the foresaid place, saying in that place: Porphyry and Julian Augustus reproveth in the same place the folly of the story Iying, saying that as the story saith, like as they followed suddenly the Saviour, that they would as hastily follow another man that had called them. For there were showed so many virtues and so many tokens tofore, that the apostles of our Lord believed verily without doubt. And certainly this replenisher of the privy majesty shone in his blessed face at the first to them that saw him, and he might by that sight and will draw them to him. If such virtue, as men say, is in a precious stone which is named magnet, which draweth to him festues and straws, how much more the creator of all things may draw to him whom he will. This said Jerome. The second is his largess or his liberality. For anon he made to him a great feast in his house, the which was not great by apparel of meats, but it was much great only by reason of great desire, for he received with right great will and right great desire. And also it was great by reason of service, for this feast was demonstrance of great mystery, which mystery the gloss expoundeth upon Saint Luke saying: He that receiveth our Lord Jesu Christ in his house was fed withinforth plenteously of greater things than the other, that is to wit of delectations, of good manners, and of good delights. And after he was great by reason of his enseignments, for he showed great teachings and doctrines. And this was of great mercy by desire, and not by sacrifice, as he said: Misericordiam volo et non sacrificium, etcetera. And also they that be whole need no leech, and so it was great, for there was Jesu Christ and his disciples. The third is humility which appeared to him in two things, first he showed him a publican. The other evangelists, as saith the gloss, because of shame, and for the honour of the evangelist, they set not their common name, but as it is written: The just is first accuser of himself. And Matthew named himself publican, first because that he showed that none converted ought not mistrust of health, like as he was made of a publican, an apostle and evangelist. Secondly, because he was patient in his injuries. For when the pharisees murmured that Jesu Christ was descended to a man, sinner, Matthew might have answered: Ye be more wicked and more sinful that ween ye be just and refuse the leech, for I may no more be said sinner that am gone to the leech of health and hide not my sin ne wound. The fourth is the great solemnity of him in the church of his gospels. His gospels be offer and more used in the church than the other evangelists, like as the psalms of David and the epistles of Paul be rehearsed before other scriptures, which be more offer recited in the church. And this is the reason that James witnesseth that there be three manner of sins, that is to wit: the sin of pride, of lechery, and of avarice. In the sin of pride sinned Saul, for Saul by the sin of pride persecuted the church over proudly. David sinned in the sin of lechery, for he made adultery, and for the adultery he slew Uriah, his true knight. And Matthew sinned in the sin of avarice, for for covetousness he meddled him of villainous gain. For he was in a port of the sea where he received the toll and custom of ships and merchandise. And howbeit that they were sinners, yet always our Lord took their penance in gree and was pleased therewith, so that he pardoned them not only their sins, but multiplied in them his gifts of grace. For him that was a right cruel persecutor, he made a right true preacher, and him that had been adulterer and homicide, he made a prophet, and him that coveted so villainous gain, he made apostle and evangelist. And therefore these foresaid three be oft recited that no man that would be converted should have despair of pardon when such that were in so great sin, he beholdeth to have been in so great grace. And it is to be considered that, after Saint Ambrose, some things ought to be noted in the conversion of Saint Matthew, that is to wit somewhat of the party of the leech, and some of the party of the sick to be healed. In the leech were three things, that is to wit, wisdom by which he knew the root of the malady, and the bounty by which he ministered the medicine, and the power by which he healed him so soon. Of these three saith Saint Ambrose in the person of the said Matthew: This master may take away the sorrow from my heart, and the dread of the soul which knoweth the things hid and privy. And this is as touching to the first. And as to the second: I have found a leech that dwelleth in heaven and sheddeth in earth his medicine. And as to the third he said: He may well heal my wounds that knoweth not his own. In this blessed sick man that was healed, that is to say Saint Matthew, three things be to be considered, after Saint Ambrose. He took away first his malady, he was always agreeable to his leech, and he was always clean and whole after he had received his health. Then he said: Matthew, follow now thy leech merrily and gladly, and he joying said: Now I am no publican, ne am not Levi, I have put away Levi sith I have received Christ and follow him, and this is to the first. And as to the second, I hate my lineage and flee my life and follow only the Lord. And as to the third he said: Who shall depart me from the charity of our Lord God which is in me? Tribulation or anguish or hunger? As who saith: Nothing. And the manner of healing, as Ambrose saith, was treble. First, Jesu Christ bound him with bonds; secondly, he impressed in him charity; and thirdly, he cleansed him from all rottenness. And Ambrose saith in the person of Matthew: I am bounden with the nails of faith, and good life of charity. Secondly, I shall keep thy commandment as imprinted in me by charity. And as to the third: Good Lord, come soon and open my wounds lest any noieful humour corrupt ne rot the hid passions, and wash them that be foul and cleanse them. His gospel that he had written with his own hand, was found with the bones of Saint Barnabas, the which gospel Barnabas bare with him, and laid them upon them that were sick, and anon they were healed by the merits of the martyr, and were founden in the year of our Lord five hundred.