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So they proposed two, Judas called Barsabbas, who was also known as Justus, and Mathias... Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles. Acts of the Apostles (Seventh Sunday of Easter).

This is a season of celebrating graduations, starting new jobs and the like. But it’s also a time of painful rejections, of not getting into your dream college or med school or being passed over for a job.

I thought about those tearful conversations in the Acts of the Apostles reading about the choice of Mathias over Justus to join the Apostles. Justus must have been an extraordinary disciple to be named a finalist. He was a little like the 4.0 students wait-listed for med school.

How did Justus accept his loss? Was he sad or angry? Did he remain a disciple or turn away from the community? Did he retain his faith and continue serving in another role? The Bible doesn’t tell us but it’s worth contemplating because we all face rejection at some point and often have to help others do so.

I have long thought that the key to coping is believing that God has something else in mind for us. The old saying that “when God closes a door, he opens a window” can only be true if we believe this.

The process starts with prayer to accept that God has an alternate (and frequently better) plan for our lives. Hard as it is, we must trust that in losing we might win – one of those paradoxes like those in the Prayer of St. Francis.

Father Damian