The Commemoration of St. Paul Apostle
On the Twenty fifth of January, we beheld Stephen leading to Christ’s mystic crib, the once ravenous wolf of Benjamin (Gen. xlix. 27), tamed at last, but who in the morning of his impetuous youth, had filled the Church of God with tears and bloodshed. His evening did indeed come when as Jacob had foreseen, Saul, the persecutor, would outstrip all his predecessors among Christ’s disciples, in giving increase to the Fold, and in feeding the Flock, with the choicest food of His heavenly doctrine.
By an unexampled privilege, Our Lord though already seated at the Right Hand of His Father, vouchsafed not only to call, but personally to instruct this new disciple, so that he might one day be numbered amongst His Apostles. The ways of God can never be contradictory one to another; hence, this creation of a new apostle may not be accomplished in a manner derogatory to the divine constitution already delivered, to the Christian Church by the Son of God. Therefore, as soon as the illustrious convert emerges from those sublime contemplations, during which the Christian dogma has been poured into his soul, he must needs go to Jerusalem to see Peter, as he himself relates to his disciples in Galatia. “It behoved him,” says Bossuet, “to collate his own Gospel with that of the prince of the Apostles.” From that moment, aggregated as a co-operator in the preaching of the Gospel, we see him at Antioch (in the “Acts of the Apostles”), accompanied by Barnabas, presenting himself to the work of opening the Church unto the Gentiles, the conversion of Cornelius having been already effected by Peter himself. He passes a whole year in this city, reaping an abundant harvest. After Peter’s imprisonment in Jerusalem, at his subsequent departure for Rome, a warning from on high makes known to those who preside over the Church at Antioch, that the moment is come for them to impose hands on the two missionaries, and confer on them the sacred character of Ordination. Continue reading