Remembering Saint Matthew

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax booth. “Follow me,” he said to him. And he got up and followed him.

Matthew 9:9

The Church remembers Saint Matthew every year on September 21. This year a new layer was added to this remembrance. In an interview with Pope Francis posted and printed on September 19th, the Pope talked about his own calling:

Pope Francis continues his reflection and says, jumping to another topic: “I do not know Rome well. I know a few things. These include the Basilica of St. Mary Major; I always used to go there. I know St. Mary Major, St. Peter’s…but when I had to come to Rome, I always stayed in [the neighborhood of] Via della Scrofa. From there I often visited the Church of St. Louis of France, and I went there to contemplate the painting of ‘The Calling of St. Matthew,’ by Caravaggio. “That finger of Jesus, pointing at Matthew. That’s me. I feel like him. Like Matthew.”

The Calling of Matthew by Caravaggio

Here the pope becomes determined, as if he had finally found the image he was looking for: “It is the gesture of Matthew that strikes me: he holds on to his money as if to say, ‘No, not me! No, this money is mine.’ Here, this is me, a sinner on whom the Lord has turned his gaze. And this is what I said when they asked me if I would accept my election as pontiff.” Then the pope whispers in Latin: “I am a sinner, but I trust in the infinite mercy and patience of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I accept in a spirit of penance.”

Read A Big Heart Open to God, the interview with Pope Francis posted online by America Magazine.

From the Web Gallery of Art:
Caravaggio: The Calling of Saint Matthew 1599-1600
Oil on canvas, 322 x 340 cm
Contarelli Chapel, San Luigi dei Francesi, Rome

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (from the Diocese of San Diego; "Retired" due to illness).

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