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Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume VII: July. The Lives of the Saints. 1866.

July 20

St. Joseph Barsabas, Confessor

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. Chrysostom 2 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.  1
  The lives of the apostles and primitive Christians was 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 honour, 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 faith?  2
Note 1. Act. i. 20. [back]
Note 2. Hom. 3, in Act. [back]
Note 3. Eus. Hist. l. 3, c. 39. [back]