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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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St Bartholomew

Wednesday, August 24, 2016
As with several Apostles, we know next to nothing about St Bartholomew. His name features in the list of Apostles in the Synoptic Gospels, but is absent in the Gospel according to St John. 

Traditionally he has been identified with Nathaniel, who is mentioned in John but not in the Synoptics. It is held that St Bartholomew was a missionary with Sts Philip and Thomas, and that he preached the Gospel in India. Other traditions have him preaching in areas of the Middle East. Of his death, again, we know very little. Some say he was flayed alive and crucified upside down (hence Michelangelo’s depiction of him in the fresco of the Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel holding his skin), others say he was beheaded. We can be quite sure he did not meet a comfortable end.

Despite the lack of information regarding St Bartholomew, I find something refreshing about commemorating him, and, indeed, many of the other Apostles about whom we know little. We know St Bartholomew was a follower of Our Lord, that he went forth and preached the Good News to people, and was able to lay down his life in witness to the Faith he professed and preached. This is the Christian life summed up succinctly. It seems so simple. Alas, we may not be as ready or fervent as St Bartholomew in living out the Christian life as well as he did, but we can certainly rely on his intercession as we continue on our way to God. St Bartholomew, like all the saints, could live the life he did because of an openness to the grace of God, which transformed his very self from the root: he was elevated to a new height, not by any merit of his own, but by a pure openness to that free gift from God. That gift of sanctifying grace was offered and accepted by St Bartholomew. That same gift is offered to us too. Will we accept it?  

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.



Comments

David Crookes commented on 24-Aug-2016 12:29 PM
A worthy assessment of a little known apostle but who nonetheless should be an inspiration to us simply because Our Lord found him worthy.

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