ST. JOSEPH BARSABAS, C.
HE was one of the seventy-two disciples of our
Lord, and was put in competition with St. Matthias to succeed the
traitor Judas in the apostleship.1 St. Chrysostom2 remarks that St.
Joseph was not displeased, but rejoiced in the Lord to see the
preference given to St. Matthias. After the dispersion of the
disciples he preached the gospel to many nations; and among other
miracles, drank poison without receiving any hurt, as Papias, and
from him Eusebius, testify.3 This saint, from his extraordinary piety
was surnamed the Just.
The lives of the apostles and primitive Christians
were a miracle in morals, and a sensible effect of almighty grace.
Burning with holy zeal, they had no interest on earth but that of the
divine honor, which they sought in all things; and being warmed with
the expectation of an eternal kingdom, they were continually
discoursing of it, and comforting one another with the hopes of
possessing it; and they did little else but prepare to die. Thus by
example, still more than by words, they subdued their very enemies to
the faith, and brought them to a like spirit and practice. Their
converts, by a wonderful change of manners, became in a moment new
creatures. Those who had been the most bitter enemies, long bent to
lust and passion, became the most loving, forgiving, and chaste
persons in the world. Has grace wrought in us so perfect a
conversion? Do our lives glorify God’s name in this manner, by
a spirit and practice agreeable to the principles of our divine