Miniature Lives of the Saints – Saint James, Apostle

detail of a stained glass window of Saint John the Apostle; date and artist unknown; church of Saint George, Castle Way, Hanworth, England; photographed on 10 December 2004 by John Salmon; swipe from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

Saint James was the son of Zebedee, a fisherman on the Lake of Galilee, and it was from his father’s ship, and while engaged in mending his nets, that he and his younger brother Saint John were called to be fishers of men. Among the twelve three were again chosen as the familiar companions of our Blessed Lord, and of these James was one. He alone with Peter and John was admitted to the house of Jairus when the dead maiden was raised to life. They alone were taken up to the high mountain apart, and saw the face of Jesus shining as the sun, and His garments white as snow; and these three alone witnessed the fearful agony in Gethsemane, when His face was bowed down to earth and His garments were dyed with blood. What was it that won James a place among the favourite three? Faith, burning, impetuous, and outspoken, but which needed purifying before the ‘Son of Thunder’ could proclaim the Gospel of peace. It was James who demanded fire from heaven to consume the inhospitable Samaritans, and who sought the place of honour by Christ in His kingdom. Yet our Lord, in rebuking his presumption, prophesied his faithfulness to death. “My chalice,” He said, “indeed you shall drink; but to sit on My right hand is not Mine, but My Father’s, to give.” Both the one and the other were his. First among the Apostles he drank the chalice of his passion, and first again entered into the kingdom, and took his place on the Apostles’ throne.

MLA Citation

  • Henry Sebastian Bowden. “Saint James, Apostle”. Miniature Lives of the Saints for Every Day of the Year, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 31 October 2016. Web. 16 January 2019. <>