Saint Mathias, Apostle

First example in the Bible of Apostolic succession…after the Ascension of Jesus, from the Acts of the Apostles:

In those days Peter stood up among the brethren (the company of persons was in all about a hundred and twenty), and said, [16] “Brethren, the scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David, concerning Judas who was guide to those who arrested Jesus. [17] For he was numbered among us, and was allotted his share in this ministry. [18] (Now this man bought a field with the reward of his wickedness; and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. [19] And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their language Akel’dama, that is, Field of Blood.) [20] For it is written in the book of Psalms, `Let his habitation become desolate,and let there be no one to live in it’;and `His office let another take.’
[21] So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, [22] beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us — one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” [23] And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab’bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi’as. [24] And they prayed and said, “Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen
[25] to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place.” [26] And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi’as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Read Pope Benedict XVI’s teaching on the Apostle Mathias in The Apostles

General Audience: Religions of the East

A different angle today by Pope Benedict:

In the reflection he had previously addressed to the 30,000 people present at the Wednesday audience, the pope had spoken about dialogue with the mystical religions of Asia, maintaining that these are based on the idea that God is found through praising him, praying to him, and not only through reflection, because even the highest concepts that can be expressed about God do not arrive at his greatness. It is faith and love that are capable of illuminating reason, the sense of being part of the “cosmic symphony” of praise for the Creator. Benedict XVI today illustrated the relevance of this “journey”, which was at the centre of the work of one of the Church fathers of the sixth century, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, a promoter of the encounter between Greek thought and Christianity, showing how Dionysius responded to the school of thought that sought to transform Plato into a “philosophical religion” for a return to Greek polytheism, the divinities of which “are the cosmic forces themselves” and therefore more true than Christian monotheism. Dionysius transformed this polytheistic universe into the harmony of the cosmos of God, into the symphony of the cosmos that spans from the Seraphim to the angels, from the archangels to man. This is the “symphony of God”, the “cosmic praise of God”, because “all of creation speaks of God”. “Speaking of God always means singing for God, with the great song of the creatures that is reflected and embodied in liturgical praise”. It is a “mystical theology”, with which Dionysius expresses the journey of the soul to God, and which becomes “liturgical theology”: to sing with the choir of the creatures of the cosmos.

Much of the pope’s reflection today was developed spontaneously, and maintained that the true spirit of dialogue is in the search for truth, it is “the experience of the truth”, “and then the truth itself sheds light and overthrows errors”, “it is possible to speak with one another, or at least draw closer to each other”. Dialogue among Christians or with the other religions, in fact, “is not born from superficiality”, but “from the truth”, and “precisely where one enters into the profundity of the encounter with Christ, there is opened wide the space for the light of the truth, which is light for all; controversies disappear and it becomes possible to approach each other”.

Also in our time, “dialogue means precisely being near to Christ and to God: it is in the experience of the truth, which opens us to the light and to the encounter with others; in the final analysis”, he continued, recalling the experience of Saint Francis, “it tells us to take the path of experience, of humble experience, when the heart expands and is able to illuminate reason”.

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