Saint Matthias, Simone Martini, ca. 1317-1319
What solemn overpowering thoughts must have crowded on Saint Matthias, when he received the greetings of the eleven apostles, and took his seat among them as their brother! His very election was a witness against himself if he did not fulfill it. And such surely will ours be in our degree. We take the place of others who have gone before us, as Matthias did: we are “baptized for the dead,” filling up the ranks of soldiers, some of whom, indeed, have fought a good fight, but many of whom in every age have made void their calling. Many are called, few are chosen. The monuments of sin and unbelief are set up around us. The fall of one nation is the conversion of another. The Church loses old branches, and gains new. God works according to his own inscrutable pleasure.
(From a sermon of John Henry Newman)