A man full of faith and the Holy
Spirit, a generous soul willing to give until it hurts, a man positive, upbeat,
enthusiastic, always seeing the positive in persons, circumstances and even
trials---- this great man of God is SAINT BARNABAS!
In a world where hope has been
overcome by doubts and fears, compliments give way to criticism and gossip, and
despair suffocates the virtue of hope, more than ever does the world need
examples like the kind, loving, encouraging and always “Affirming” person
of ST. BARNABAS!
His name “Barnabas” actually means
“Son of encouragement”. One of the
three later Apostles—with Paul and Matthias--- his origin was Cypress and being
a man of economic means, he sold a farm and gave the proceeds to the Apostles,
manifesting both detachment from material things and generosity of spirit. He lived out the Beatitude, “Blessed are the
poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt.5:3).
One of the principal reasons why Saul
of Tarsus was given credibility was due to the person of Barnabas. The radical conversion of Saul on the road to
Tarsus was not believed by all—due to the violent past of Saul, who concurred
in the stoning and martyrdom of the Proto-martyr, St. Stephen. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, Barnabus
believed in the authenticity of the conversion of Saul and gave proof to the
Apostles that Saul’s conversion was “The
ANTIOCH. In Antioch, Barnabas with St. Paul were
instrumental in teaching, instructing, exhorting huge numbers who came to the
faith. It was in Antioch that the followers of Jesus were for the first time
given the name “Christian”.
MISSIONARY. As we read in the Acts of the Apostles,
while the Apostles were dedicated to prayer and fasting, the Holy Spirit expressed
a missionary excursion that would change the world! It was to set apart both Paul and Barnabas
to go and preach the Lord Jesus, calling to mind the last words of Jesus in the
Gospel of St. Matthew: “Go, therefore,
make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I
gave you. And know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” (Mt.
FRIEND, COMPANION, MISSIONARY. Jesus wanted to send them out in two! Barnabas had the ability to work well with others. The devil tries to divide and separate. This
is often present in families,
communities, meetings, parishes, and groups in general. The spirit of St. Barnabas teaches us the
importance of living peacefully together, working side-by-side for the purpose of
glorifying God and saving souls. Barnabas could see the good in others and
build on that!
DEATH BY MARTYRDOM! According to tradition, St. Barnabas died
receiving the palm of martyrdom. His
death, similar to that of the Proto-martyr, St. Stephen, was by being stoned to
death! Tradition has it that they found
him clasping a hand-written copy of the Gospel of St. Matthew to his heart---
dying proclaiming Jesus with his lips, having followed Jesus by an authentic
life-style and breathing forth his spirit with the Word of God over his
heart! What a splendid model for us!
WAYS TO BE A “BARNABAS”—son/daughter
SMILE! Learn to radiate joy by a warm
and loving smile—can be worth more than a million words and it is indeed
contagious. Inexpensive too!
PRAY! Pray for somebody today,
especially somebody who is going through bouts of discouragement and depression!
QUOTE A BIBLE PASSAGE! Why not quote to somebody, in the right time
and moment guided by the Holy Spirit, an encouraging Biblical passage. A
suggestion! “The Lord is my Shepherd,
there is nothing I shall want.” (Psalm 23).
LISTEN! An authentic sign of charity is the ability
to listen attentively to others.
Attention, good will, understanding, patience, a peaceful and joyful
countenance--- these are all positive signs of a good listener! It is said of
Mother Teresa, Pope Paul VI (and other saints) that they had the uncanny gift
of listening to others. Those who spoke to these saints, felt as if they were
the only person in the world. Undivided attention was given to them!
ENCOURAGE! This can be done by hand gesture, by a smile,
but especially through words! Incorporate into your vocabulary words and
expressions that lift others up, edify!
Examples of encouraging words might be:
“Well done!” “Great!”
“Victory!” “This will be the best
day of your life!” “God will provide!” “The Lord be with you!” “Shalom!”
It is interesting to note that in sports, almost always, teams have a
tendency to win more games at home rather than away. The reason must be obvious! At home the team is cheered on to
victory! Who should we encourage?
Everybody! However, there should be a hierarchy of order of those we should
encourage as first and second on the list! Husbands’ wives and wives’ husbands.
Parents should encourage their children. Siblings--- instead of bickering and
fighting, which is all too common—should mutually support and encourage each
other! In other words, charity begins
at home! St. Bonaventure paves us the
way with this immortal statement: “We
should open our mouths to praise God, accuse ourselves and to edify others.” Superb advice from this Franciscan Doctor of
A few years ago there was a study
about the huge success of a Japanese company! The conclusion of the study was
one concept---- ENCOURAGEMENT AND SUPPORT!
One man was hired in the company with the sole purpose of encouraging,
complimenting and affirming the workers on their good work! When we smile at,
encourage, affirm, support, and compliment indeed we can truly bring the best
out of others! Why not be a modern
May Our Lady, “Cause of our
joy”, who encouraged and supported St.
Elizabeth and St. John the Baptist by
her holy, happy, hopeful presence intercede for us so that we can always be a
ray of light, a spark of hope, a glimmer of peace, and a clear signpost towards