FEAST OF ST. MATTHEW, OTHERWISE NAMED LEVI, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST.
In St. Luke's Gospel we read how our Lord "went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and He said unto him, Follow Me. And he left all, rose up, and followed Him."
Spirit outspeeds matter; will, action; love, everything.
St. Matthew, intent on following, first arose: in like manner his heart's desire and choice outstripped physical possibility, so that he had already "left all" when he "rose up."
Having arisen, he forthwith followed; being called, he forthwith arose; yet arising forthwith, had in will already relinquished all. Few are they on whom his mantle has descended.
Reluctantly we hear a conscience-call: we mean to rise, but later on; to start, but at a future moment. Perhaps, when grudgingly and of necessity we have at last accomplished both acts, our heart may slowly and drearily (for habit is second nature) get weaned from its first love--say, a money bag--and mount resignedly to higher interests.
But if this result impend only "after a long time," God in mercy grant that the Lord (though also "after a long time") arrive not first to reckon with His sordid servants.
"From sudden death, Good Lord, deliver us."