Memorial of St. Barnabas, Apostle

Today's Mass Readings


“When he arrived and saw the grace of God, he rejoiced and encouraged them all to remain faithful to the Lord in firmness of heart, for he was a good man, filled with the Holy Spirit and faith.”

Notice this: this ‘son of encouragement,’ as his name means, can ‘see’ the grace of God at work because he is already aware of its work within himself. Here is there something of a law of the spiritual life. We as Christians are called to love. Surely this is at the heart of the Christian life. But the movement of love requires a willingness to experience God’s love. Barnabas could be a son of encouragement because he wanted and prayed for the Holy Spirit to encourage him.

This especially shows up in his preaching. The preacher—thanks to the working of the Holy Spirit—is both encouraged by, and in turn encourages, those who are open to, and desire, the Spirit to work in them.

One of the implications of this friendship with the Holy Spirit is a movement towards inner silence. We can hear something of this in a piece from Diadochus of Photice:

“When the Holy Spirit acts in the soul he sings psalms and prays with complete relaxation and sweetness in the secret places of the heart. This disposition is accompanied by interior tears, then by a sort of fullness, eager for silence.”

Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB

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