Today is the feast of Saint Matthias, the one chosen, as recounted in the first chapter of Acts, to replace Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Christ, and ‘went to his own place’. All that is known for certain of this new-twelfth Apostle is that when the choice came down to two, between him and Joseph Barsabbas, Matthias was elected by ‘lots’, signifying that God’s own choice and will, can be manifested by various means, even the drawing of straws, so long as we are open to the promptings and counsel of the Holy Spirit, as the Apostles definitely were. As the priest said in the sermon at Mass this morning, we should aspire to the humility of Matthias, so that we may hear the voice of God in our hearts, not presuming, and taking the lowest place, so that He may call us higher, in His own good time and means. It is usually best if leadership and ‘greatness’ are thrust upon us, rather than sought and grabbed, as is so the custom in our modern political arena. We should remind ourselves that ambition, seeking honours and authority we do not deserve, is a vice, not a virtue.
Tradition has it that Matthias preached the faith in Cappadocia, and suffered martyrdom either there or in Jerusalem. Such was his own lot, as Saint Peter prophesied, that he would be a witness, a ‘martyr’, to the resurrection of Christ, which we can attain only through our own passing from life to death to life again.
This is also the anniversary, if such be the term, of the passing of the nefarious Bill C-150 under Pierre Trudeau’s Liberal government in 1969, with John Turner as Justice Minister (both Catholics), legalizing abortion (then under strict conditions, two doctors and life and health and such), while also instantiating gun control and laws for drinking and driving (becoming the invasive long-gun registry and RIDE program), while decriminalizing ‘homosexual acts’ (that is, sodomy) and the sale of contraceptives. Ironically, the bill also criminalized harassing phone calls, misleading advertising and cruelty to animals. Hmm.
Mr. Turner described the Bill, which passed after heated debate 149 to 55, as “the most important and all-embracing reform of the criminal and penal law ever attempted at one time in this country”, while Mr. Trudeau defended his own support, declaring that the ‘state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation’. It is not clear if he was referring to what homosexuals do in private, to contraception, or to abortion (which is generally used to ‘negate’ the living fruit of sexual acts), or all of the above.
Mr. Trudeau Junior has taken his father’s principles to their logical conclusion: Abortion has gone from being seen as a sad and tragic necessity in certain extreme cases (in 1969), to a fundamental, private right, a choice reserved to the woman herself, for any reason whatsoever, between her and her conscience, paid for by the state. As such, in the mind of Trudeau and most others of his ilk (including, apparently, most members of Parliament, at least of the Liberals and NDP) those who oppose this right have branded themselves enemies of the state and of ‘freedom of choice’. Hence, ironically, while striving to the keep the state out of the bedroom, they have allowed it not only into the womb of mothers, but also into our very conscience, the very ‘sanctuary of Man’, where God ‘speaks to our heart.
Hence, our current Prime Minister has declared categorically that he will brook no opposition to the legalized killing of the unborn (as well as the elderly, sick and whoever else may want, or need, to be ‘euthanized’), making himself a prophet and guardian of the culture of death, however aware he is of this status in his own darkened conscience.
Ah, yes, light and darkness. The walls of oppression are closing in, and we may all soon be called to be ‘witnesses’ with Saint Matthias in ways we might not have imagined, and where, with Saint Peter, we might rather not go. But the path of persecution, if we but remain faithful, leads to a far, far better place, as Dickens might have put it.
And speaking of light and darkness, yesterday, when one thought one’s troubles might be far away, the feast of the Ascension (in Canada and other parts of the world), the seventh Sunday of Easter (in the broader universal Church), as well as Mother’s Day (also in many countries), there were two bombing attacks in Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, but one which has been relatively persecution-free, until recently. One was at a Catholic church, the other at a police station, both, apparently carried out by two families, including mothers and children, all of whom perished in the suicide blasts. Ironic, one might think, but in the radical Islamic mind, this was their own path to ‘martyrdom’ and ‘paradise’. They have found out by now, as they have passed the veil into eternity, that murder and mayhem are not the way of Christ, and not the way to heaven. We can only hope that in their own malformed conscience, there was deep ignorance, and room for God’s mercy.
And for the victims? Well, the ones at church at least were found, as Christ hoped, doing ‘the Master’s business’, worshiping God at Holy Mass. As tragic and sorrowful as death may be (and it truly is), we should console ourselves with the thought that there are few better and more fitting ways to die. If the ancient Romans thought that it was dulce et decorum est pro patribus mori, ‘sweet and proper to die for one’s country’, how much better to die for and in God’s very Presence?
Would that we all may be found in the same way, whenever our own time may be, in God’s good and wise choice.
Requiescant in pace, and Saint Matthais, ora pro nobis!