‘At the time when the author of the Book of Job lived, there was an idea that to suffer was to be in God's bad books. This thinker and poet, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote a drama in which he represented Job meeting every kind of trial and tribulation and in them all glorifying God. All the suffering of Job becomes a revelation of the steadfastness of faith, proved and justified.
The story of St Bartholomew is that after the Lord’s Ascension he travelled far in the East. St Gregory of Tours tells us that a certain saint was preaching in India, expecting to find only heathen, but he found Christians there who had a copy of St Matthew’s Gospel, and he was able to trace the teaching of the Gospel to St Bartholomew, who had been in those parts. In the end the wanderings of the apostle took him to Armenia, where the people were very barbarous, and there he was condemned to be flayed alive. So he answered literally the Satanic challenge of the Book of Job (Job 2:4-6) - “skin for skin”. The story of Bartholomew, like the story of Job, tells us that through the fire of pain and suffering a man may still give glory to God.
Suffering is a great mystery, but there are things we could never know without it. If we consider how the apostles preached the Faith, it is not that they were eloquent but that they were utterly sincere men. One of the things necessary to prove their sincerity was their suffering, and so they took suffering to their hearts. Even as the Cross of Christ revealed the love of God in the beauty of suffering, so the suffering of Bartholomew revealed to the heathen the Cross of Christ’.
from Meditations for Every Day by Father Andrew SDC, 1869-1946
O Almighty and everlasting God, who didst give to thine Apostle Bartholomew grace truly to believe and to preach thy Word: grant, we beseech thee, unto thy Church; to love that Word which he believed, and both to preach and to receive the same; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen. - Divine Worship: The Missal.
Fr Lee Kenyon