Friday, 8 February 2013

St. John of Matha




Dear Reader


Today being the 8th of February is the feast of St. John of Matha. A great example to us in these modern days despite the reduction of his particular mission. He is a confessor and founder of a religious order in this case the Order of the Most Holy Trinity. To start with let’s read what is recorded in Lesson III of Matins for his feast.


John of Matha was born at Faucon in Provence of devout and noble parents. When he was celebrating his first Mass, he understood from a vision that he was to devote himself to ransoming those taken captives by the infidels. Because of this sign from God, he retired into the wilderness, where he found Felix of Valois, who had been living in that same place for many years. Here they both devoted themselves most fervently to prayer. After being advised three times in dreams, they went to Rome and obtained the approbation of Pope Innocent III for the new Order of the Most Holy Trinity for the Ransoming of Captives. They then built their first monastery in the diocese of Meaux, and Felix remained there as superior. But John returned to Rome with some companions, where Innocent gave them the house, church, and hospital of St. Thomas in Formis on the Coelian Hill. He also gave them letters to present to Miramolin, King of Morocco, and thus the work of ransoming captives was auspiciously begun. Then John went to Spain, a great part of which was oppressed under the Saracen yoke. Having moved the hearts of all to pity the captives, he built hospitals and ransomed many prisoners. At length, he returned to Rome; there, broken in health by his toils and by illness, he died in the Lord on the 21st day of December, in the year 1213.”


Here we can see that his mission was a vocation, a divine call from God to serve the lowest and neediest of the time, in this case those people who had been captured by the infidels and were being used as slaves.  This being the 6th of the corporal works of mercy. It is important to note that before he began his mission in earnest he had first been deep in prayer and then had sought confirmation of this vocation from Church Authority. He did not run off on his own feelings but was sent by The Church, this is an example to us to wait and be patient, for we are at the disposal of God who works through The Church He founded.


To be canonised one must show “Heroic Virtue” and though we are all called to express the virtues to this level, most of us will not succeed in doing so and indeed one does not need to be worthy of canonisation to take a seat in Heaven. In this case though St. John shows his total love of God by his absolute commitment that leaves him “broken in health by his toils” this is a reminder to us not to hold back from doing that which God asks us but by the virtue of diligence throwing ourselves completely into His work.


I hope that all of us can take something from the example of this great saint. Let us pray to St. John of Matha that through the coming season of Lent we may through prayer and penance be once more freed from all stain of sin.


Yours in Christ

Dominic Maria

1 comment:

  1. Your article is much better than mine! Thanks for the link