ABOUT that time Matthew, the holy apostle and evangelist of Christ, was abiding in the mountain resting, and praying in his tunic and apostolic robes without sandals; and, behold, Jesus came to Matthew in the likeness of the infants who sing in paradise, and said to him: Peace to thee, Matthew!
And Matthew having gazed upon Him, and not known who He was, said: Grace to thee, and peace, O child highly favoured! And why hast thou come hither to me, having left those who sing in paradise, and the delights there?
Because here the place is desert; and what sort of a table I shall lay for thee, O child, I know not, because I have no bread nor oil in a jar. Moreover, even the winds are at rest, so as not to cast down from the trees to the ground anything for food; because, for the accomplishing of my fast of forty days, I, partaking only of the fruits falling by the movement of the winds, am glorifying my Jesus.
Now, therefore, what shall I bring thee, beautiful boy? There is not even water near, that I may wash thy feet. And the child said: Why sayest thou, O Matthew? Understand and know that good discourse is better than a calf, and words of meekness better than every herb of the field, and a sweet saying as the perfume of love, and cheerfulness of countenance better that feeding, and a pleasant look is as the appearance of sweetness.
Understand, Matthew, and know that I am paradise, that I am the comforter, I am the power of the powers above, I the strength of those that restrain themselves, I the crown of the virgins, I the self-control of the once married, I the boast of the widowed, I the defence of the infants, I the foundation of the Church, I the kingdom of the bishops, I the glory of the presbyters, I the praise of the deacons.