An early 17th-century prayer card to Matthew the Evangelist. Matthew was an exile among his own people, a Jewish tax collector despised both by Jews and Gentiles as an extortionist. Christ boldly challenged public opinion when he bid Matthew to leave all and follow him. When Matthew describes Christ dining with those ill repute, he is talking quite poignantly about men like himself redeemed by the Lord’s compassion. He undertook his gospel under special instruction from the Holy Spirit, writing it for Jewish Christians and using his intimate knowledge of Jewish customs. After Pentecost, Matthew, like his fellow disciples, preached the faith and suffered martyrdom. Apocryphal tradition claims that before his death he spent some time at the Ethiopian court, where some eunuchs pitted him against a dragon. Joining the legion of saints who vanquished fearful serpents, Matthew made the sign of the cross and the monster fell asleep at his feet.
A meditation from Bernard of Clairvaux on humility reads, Humility is the foundation on which the whole spiritual structure is erected and grows into the temple of the Lord.
This meditation is followed by an injunction to pray for princes.