CATHARINE LAMB's Shears and Tears of a Lamb (mar13lam.htm)

March 13, 2004
vol 15, no. 73

Forever canonized in the Canon of the Mass

Abandoned Saints to sustain Thy Sinful Servants    Part II

    "By getting to know these saints a little better we will never forget to pause when our eyes fall upon their names listed in the Canon of the Mass; when we remember the price they paid for the love of Our Lord; when we remember that they have been abandoned by the mass of the Novus Ordo."

    We continue with discovering more about these great martyrs whose names are mentioned in the Nobis quoque peccatoribus of the Canon.

    One of the magnificent mysteries of the Traditional Roman Rite of the Mass is the depth to which one may plumb it if desired. As Traditional Catholics, we understand that no part of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is without meaning or purpose. It's hard to believe that anyone who loved the true Mass could jettison it in favor of a celebration of community rooted in "theatrical participation," the depth and substance of which can best be described as "exterior."

    As we pray during the Canon of the Mass, following along in the Missals, our eyes glance across the names of many saints meant to jar us into remembering the beginnings of the Church and the price that was paid to stand firm in the Faith. At that moment we are really surrounded by the glorious cloud of witnesses, the Communion of Saints, who intercede for our spiritual victory. We are blessed with the presence of their company, kneeling right beside us, embracing us with a spiritual "send off" to approach the Banquet Table and receive our Daily Bread for the ensuing battle.

    By getting to know these saints a little better we will never forget to pause when our eyes fall upon their names listed in the Canon of the Mass; when we remember the price they paid for the love of Our Lord; when we remember that they have been abandoned by the mass of the Novus Ordo.

The Priest says audibly:
Nobis quoque peccatoribus
He then returns to saying the following inaudibly for the Canon of the Mass is so sacred
famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationum tuarum sperantibus partem aliquam, et societatem donare digneris, cum tuis sanctis Apostolis et Martyribus: cum Ioanne, Stephano, Matthia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcellino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Caecilia, Anastasia, et omnibus Sanctis suis: intra quorum nos consortium, non aestimator meriti, sed veniae, quaesumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
The Priest says audibly:
To us also, Thy sinful servants,
He then returns to saying the following inaudibly for the Canon of the Mass is so sacred
confiding in the multitude of Thy mercies, vouchsafe to grant some part and fellowship with Thy holy Apostles and Martyrs, with John, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicitas, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia, and with all Thy Saints, into whose company we beseech Thee to admit us, not weighing our merits, but pardoning our offenses. Through Christ our Lord.

    Saints Matthias and Barnabas were men highly acclaimed by the first Christian generation. Holy Mother the Church has upheld the memory of their significant contributions, their lives of faith lived in perilous times, and their blood spilled for the sake of the Kingdom by remembering them in every single Mass. Let it be our prayer that we may also honor them and attempt in some small measure to follow their example.


    Saint Matthias was the Apostle chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot. As described in the Catholic Encyclopedia (Copyright 1911) Matthias was one of the seventy disciples of Jesus, and had been with Him from His baptism by John to the Ascension (Acts 1:21,22). We are told in Acts 1: 15-26 that in the days following the Ascension, St. Peter suggested to the assembled brethren, who numbered 120, that they chose one from among themselves to take the place of the traitor Judas.

    Two men were chosen; Joseph called Barnabas, and Matthias. Both the saints covered in today's feature. Lots were drawn with the result in favor of Matthias, who then joined the company of the eleven Apostles. Most of the other information about Matthias is vague and contradictory. It is fairly certain that he first preached the Gospel in Judea and then went on to Ethiopia. One account says that he "preached the Gospel to barbarians and cannibals in the interior of Ethiopia, at the harbor of the sea of Hyussus, at the mouth of the river Phasis." Like all the Apostles, he suffered martyrdom, though different accounts say he was either crucified or stoned and beheaded.

    Clement of Alexandria recorded a sentence which he ascribed to Matthias" "We must combat our flesh, set no value upon it, and concede to it nothing that can flatter it, but rather increase the growth of our soul by faith and knowledge." This teaching was probably from the Gospel of Matthias which was mentioned by Origen and others, as well as quoted from by Clement of Alexandria. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Matthias on February 23 (February 24 in Leap Year).


    St. Barnabas (originally Joseph) is ranked by the Church as an Apostle, though like St. Paul, he was not one of the Twelve. Born of Jewish parents, he was a Levite, and spent much of his time in Jerusalem, probably even before the Crucifixion. Acts 4:36-37 implies that Matthias probably converted to Christianity after Pentecost, having sold his land, bringing the money to lay at the feet of the Apostles. Apparently because of his success as a preacher, the Apostles surnamed him Barnabas, which means "son of exhortation or "consolation." He acquired a high position in the Church, being placed first among the prophets and doctors of Antioch. When Saul the persecutor (later Paul the Apostle), first came to Jerusalem after his conversion, the Apostles were slow to believe in the reality of his conversion.

    It was St. Barnabas who presented Saul to the Apostles. Some years after this event, Paul and Barnabas were brought back together and evangelized together for 12 years, having been sent out by the Church of Antioch to the Gentile world. They began their mission in Cyprus and then crossed over to Asia Minor. Pushing on, they went into the interior of what the Catholic Encyclopedia describes as "a rather wild country," preaching at Antioch of Pisicia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe and other cities. They met with opposition and violence every step of the way. Despite the hardships, they made many converts, organized churches, ordained presbyters and placed them over the faithful. Barnabas appears to have been one of the most esteemed men of the first Christian generation. St. Luke refers to him with affection, recalling that "he was a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of Faith."

    St. Barnabas is credited by many Fathers as being the author of the so-called Epistle of Barnabas. The Saint Andrew Daily Missal says that Barnabas was stoned by the Jews as a blasphemer. "He was buried with the Gospel of St. Matthew which he had copied with his own hand." His feast day is June 11.

Next installment of "Abandoned Saints": Saints Ignatius and Alexander

Catharine Lamb

(Sources, The Saint Andrew Daily Missal; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, 1925 Benziger Brothers; Pocket Dictionary of Saints by John J. Delaney, Image Books, 1983.)

    For past columns by Catharine, see 2004lam.htm Archives
    March 13, 2004
    vol 15, no. 73