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  A Christian Faith Magazine December 2003, Volume 9, Issue 5  
Apostle of the Month
St. Matthias
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St. Matthias
St. Matthias

Matthias, from the Hebrew words for "gift of God", was one of Jesus' early disciples. Te Bible says Matthias followed Jesus "beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up from us." (Acts 1:22)

Following Jesus' Crucifixion and Resurrection, the Apostles needed to make some important decisions. The Apostle Peter reminded the group that they had to replace Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus and then taken his own life. Peter also told them that whomever they chose had to have followed Jesus throughout His ministry.

So out of the 120 disciples, Matthias was suggested, along with the disciple called Barsabbas. The group prayed and then cast the lots, which "feel upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles." (Acts 1:26)

Scholars are uncertain about Matthias's activities following his selection as an Apostle. According to one account, the continued to preach the Gospel in Judea before traveling into Africa, where he was crucified. Another tradition holds that he was martyred in Rome. Helena - the mother of Emperor Constantine - was especially devoted to Matthias. Many believe she had a church built to house his remains.

Matthias may also have written an account of his experiences as a disciple. This document has been lost to history, except for a fragment quoted later by St. Clement of Alexandria: "We must combat our flesh, set no value upon it...but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge."

O Glorious Saint Matthias,
in God's design
it fell upon you
to take the place
of the unfortunate Judas
who betrayed his Master.
You were selected
by the twofold sign
of the uprightness of your life
and the call of the Holy Spirit.
Obtain for us
the grace to practice
the same uprightness of life

and to be called
by that same Spirit
to wholehearted service
of the Church.
Then after a life of zeal
and good works
let us be ushered
into your company
in heaven
to sing forever
the praises of
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.

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