Thursday, December 21, 2023


                                                  UNCOMFORTABLE QUESTIONS

In her book WAR, how conflict shapes us, Canadian historian, Marget Macmillan, quotes this from Pericles: But the man who most truly can be accounted brave is he who best knows the meaning of what is sweet in life and of what is terrible, and then goes out undeterred to meet what is to come. [1]

Do we not need, in our politics, civic life, lives of faith more men and women who can be counted brave?

The truth is out there, but sometimes a great deal is harder to find than the less complex, more appealing disinformation that obscures it. [2]

Götterdämmerung refers fundamentally to the collapse of a society or regime marked by catastrophe violence and disorder, such as that of the Nazi regime and the other axis powers of the 2nd world war. The more common notion is “Twilight of the Gods,” a Wagnerian dark opera in his Ring series.

Even the most cursory glance at daily news from around the world reveals numerous wars, in the Holy land, Ukraine, Yemen, Sudan and countless internecine disruptions in the body politic of countries from the US, Canada, Great Britain, etc., etc.

As well recently Pope Francis stripped an archbishop from Texas of the bishop’s diocese and demoted a Cardinal, taking away his salary and grace and favour apartment, amounting to a shot across the bow of any who, like those two, challenge this Pope.

When two people request a blessing, even if their situation as a couple is “irregular,” it will be possible for the ordained minister to consent. However, this gesture of pastoral closeness must avoid any elements that remotely resemble a marriage rite. This is what is stated in the Declaration “Fiducia supplicans” on the pastoral meaning of blessings, published by the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope Francis. “Fiducia supplicans” begins with the introduction by the prefect, Cardinal Victor Fernandez, who explains that the Declaration considers the “pastoral meaning of blessings,” allowing “a broadening and enrichment of the classical understanding” through a theological reflection “based on the pastoral vision of Pope Francis.” It is a reflection that “implies a real development from what has been said about blessings up until now, reaching an understanding of the possibility “of blessing couples in irregular situations and same-sex couples without officially validating their status or changing in any way the Church’s perennial teaching on marriage.” [3]

While I don’t expect a full blown Götterdämmerung within the Catholic Church, for none of Francis’ questionable decisions have been ex-cathedra, but are therefore just one’s man’s ideas, an open schism, worse than that of Archbishop Lefebvre and his associates is not beyond the pale.

Shall we ask what naivete embraces the dubious expectation of the above that none among those asking for or those administering such ‘blessings’ won’t cross the Rubicon into various simulacrums of marriage?

There are many uncomfortable questions which need to be asked in the light of day but as regards the state of the Church under this Pope, that of the body politic in our countries and the growing divisions within our nations and between nations, in this age of AI, and deliberate misinformation, discerning objective truth is akin to organising a bowling match in quicksand!

I am also of the generation before vaccines for childhood diseases where common and so things like measles, chicken pox, etc., were ubiquitous, the most devastating was polio and I remember the last major polio epidemic before the Salk vaccine when classmates ended up in iron-lungs or dead.

Also in those days, before the internet, and the plethora of news sources, both legitimate and otherwise {and it is not lost on me I am using the same system to ask uncomfortable questions}, news programs on radio, and then on television, were presented by ‘news readers’, in Canada on the CBC and Radio-Canada, following the tradition set by the BBC. The News Readers, mostly male, were trained to annunciate proper English.

Does anyone hear or speak proper English these days of schoolteachers who push agendas rather than actual education! Likewise newspapers tended to shy away from mere commentary and struggled to adhere to the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, Where Why!

These are the days when parental rights are made subservient to agendas such as so-called climate change and gender dysphoria where teachers allow little munchkins to choose their own pronouns.

Apparently gender dysphoria is a contagious disease! And “trans” identity has become another overflowing bin of rights!

When did rights become a major instrument used to herd the woke cats of liberalism?

Thus the polio epidemic was reported on, not analyzed to death. Unlike with covid which to this very day is a slippery snake issue with people shouting from their silos not hearing, let alone listening, to one another. Even more contentious is the whole matter of vaccines.

How has it come to this? From whence the utter distrust of mainstream media? My own suspicion is the roots are to be found in the depths of the Vietnam war and the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Because the Warren commission report was so badly handled and because the reports out of Vietnam about the war contradicted the ever increasing body bags returning to the US, the seeds of the choking weeds of distrust were sown. Canada by contrast to Our American cousins, when we had our troops in Afghanistan, was vividly open about casualties:

Nonetheless, opinions about that war and the other issues referenced above and below are marked by raggedly sharp divides.

Again the uncomfortable question: why have we become such obstreperous citizens one towards another?

Are we Christians no longer the people of the Beatitudes and the Great Commandment to love one another as Christ loves us?

Do we not see the direct lines between the violent weapons in our hearts, thoughts, rhetoric, and the violence all around us? Do we no longer embrace the Holy Gospel as the sacred word of God but merely as a text to be parsed?

I grew up in a military family, my father served in the Royal Canadian Navy throughout the entire Battle of the Atlantic, the longest battle of the Second World War.

A great Uncle lived with us who had been gassed in the Battle of Ypres:

His lungs were burned by the gas and he never fully recovered.

Empires fell because of that war and areas like the Middle East were carved up by the winners, as were other German territories around the world, themselves due to conquest.

It has become popular, among the liberal elites in what used to be called ‘the new world’ to pander to notions of nonindigenous citizens as settlers and colonizers.

Which native North American tribe invented higher mathematics, discovered equivalents to penicillin, invented the wheel?

True in the early days both across north, central and south America, sometimes aided and abetted by the Church, unholy things were done to the conquered peoples, who today, nonetheless have among their ranks mathematicians, doctors, lawyers, judges, and in the case of Canada a Governor General!

Why do the woke chattering classes fail to mention the positives?

When I was growing up this country and most of the Americas and Western Europe, celebrated our Chrisian heritage, yet the EU deliberately, in spite of the pleas of St. john Paul II, excised that two millennia heritage from its constitution and the woke crowd never utters Merry Christmas, just a languid Happy Holidays begging the question which holidays.

The origin of the word holiday goes back to old English and derives from holy day.

 A final and hopefully really uncomfortable question, asked of myself as well; Who is Jesus for You?

Ultimately no Jesus, no humanity. No Christ Child, no babies will survive any war. No baby Jesus in a cave with His homeless parents, no hope for the myriad homeless on the streets of our cities, no crucified and Risen Christ in transubstantiated bread and wine and we will all starve to death!

We are called to see the face of Christ…in His death He went into the deepest heart of creation – its emptiness- and when He rose, He took our flesh and filled it with the glory of God. The face of Christ is shining now in every human face…. God’s love is not bound. There is order in God, but it is the order of Father, Son and Spirit communing in inexhaustible love. Infinite being is infinite, boundless love. [4].

Christ’s love, trinitarian love is all fire and light. Everything alive on earth, every ocean, river, drop of water, all require light. We humans require light, no light, no ability to see the wonders of His love all around us, throughout the human family and the cosmos!

Light penetrates, enlightens, gives and sustains life!

We use the word radiant and radiates when speaking of another’s smile, newborn babies trigger such radiance when we smile at them.

 No wonder our true God, who is Light from Light came to dwell among us as one like us in all things but sin as a newborn and left us as a glorified, radiant, risen adult after pouring Himself out for us to the last drop of His Blood and Last breath of life, the light from His eyes gone when He said, “It is finished!”

It is light and fire radiance of the Risen Christ Himself we receive in every Holy Communion.

Who is Christ for me?

My Beloved everything. Christ is all, and is in all. [Col. 3:11]



© Fr. Arthur Joseph, 2023

[1] WAR how conflict shaped us, Margaret MacMillan, top of page 20;

Penguin Random House Canada, 2021

[2] from The Last Train by Peter Bradley, p. 296 Harper North, 2022

[3] from the Vatican news site:

[4] pp. 65, 67, 133. From Circling the Sun by Robert D. Pelton, the Pastoral Press 1986, currently Out of Print.

Thursday, November 30, 2023


                                                      ANOTHER WILL BIND YOU

Several weeks ago with the celebration of my 79th birthday I crossed the threshold into my 80th year, profoundly aware all is grace, each moment of life a gift from Love Himself, and found myself recalling a particular passage from the Holy Gospel according to St. John, one which never until now, had a personal aspect to it.

The passage is from St. john 21:15~19: Vs 18: “Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”

Spoken in the context of His Resurrection appearance, where He had made breakfast for His beloved Apostles, it is one of the many occurrences where Jesus  who loves us, shows tenderness to those whom He meets: such as the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, the woman crawling on her belly seeking healing, the man of small stature climbing the sycamore tree to better see Jesus, the tender glance towards Peter which ignited a fire of repentance and trust in Peter's heart, His gaze of love towards the rich young man; His compassion for the thousands who had followed Him and were hungry whom He fed in abundance, and countless other instances of His tender and compassionate love.

For us alive today and in the future and as it was for our ancestors in the faith, we receive the Divine Embrace of merciful love each time we faithfully receive Jesus in the Most Holy Eucharist, of which the Church declares:  Thou didst give them Bread from Heaven. Alleluia. Containing in itself all sweetness. Alleluia. 1]

A critical aspect of experiencing Christ’s love and care has come from my family who found a place for me in an assisted living facility which includes independence. Initially I balked at the idea, for who wants to be bound and led where we would rather not go?

Critical in the passage from St. John referenced in the above is the context: Jesus asking Peter three times” Do you love Me?” (in the Greek each use of “do you love Me” is a more intimate use of the word love) hence Jesus’ follow me is His invitation to the intimacy of Communion of Love, which every reception of the Holy Eucharist is, theologically we could rightly say Communion of Love as well as Holy Communion.

“Follow Me” includes the implied wherever He leads us and however He leads us, in imitation of our Blessed Mother our love is expressed in fiat!

It is how we take up His cross, our cross, each day and follow Him on the great pilgrimage through time and experience until the final binding takes place when it is Sister death who binds us and the reluctance to go where she leads becomes the exhilaration of the eternal brightness of Love’s embrace where there is no more binding, no more tears, no more uncertainty or reluctance.

© 2023 Fr. Arthur Joseph



1] Excerpted from A Prayerbook of Favorite litanies complied by Father Albert J. Hebert, S.M.,

TAN Books, Charlotte, North Carolina, 2010; p. 50




Friday, May 20, 2022




After a recent hospital stay with a brain bleed and recovery I am finally, by grace, back to writing and it is an added blessing to be writing on the final words of the Little Mandate: I WILL BE YOUR REST.

These words are rooted in: “Come to Me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” [Mt. 11;28,29]

They are simultaneously words of intimacy and promise, a gift of the now and the not yet for the ultimate gift of rest is within the Trinity, in and through Jesus, the embrace of resurrection, while here on our earthly pilgrimage, the fulfillment of the promised rest is temporary, even often experienced as fleeting. Still, it is the intimacy between us and our Beloved, for even a moment of rest in the arms of the One who loves us is a tremendous gift.

Just glance at any baby resting in the arms of an adult, the smile of the child, the relaxed expression of the adult says it all.

This final line of the Mandate is a directive as well as an invitation: Come to Me takes us back to the first word of the mandate: Arise- go!

As St. Matthew the poor teaches us: God’s directions to us are most often given through the reading and hearing of the Gospel and when we are in a state of humility and when we pray with an open heart. [1]

In his homily on the Story of the woman at the well [Jn.54-5:42]St. Augustine connects the ‘water’ Jesus offers with St. Matthew’s words of Jesus inviting us to come to Him and rest.

Part of our labour is the demand of our particular vocation, for example parents labour outside the home to have money for bread and other items to care for the family, then they labour in the home to feed and otherwise care for their children, and labour to sustain their sacred vocation as spouses.

All of us labour in embracing the daily cross of the times and society in which we live, therein to fulfill our baptismal vocation to become saints. It is obvious that humanity is facing many problems, will have to face many more, and that these problems are deeply disturbing the souls of all men. It is just as certain that we cannot, must not, reject the new, strange, adventuresome, frightening world that is opening before us…..that is already with us. Especially we Christians cannot do this because Christ has inserted Himself into this world and we are His people, His body. [2] With the war in Ukraine raging now, with no end in sight to the brutality of same, there is the danger of a 3rd world war looming, feels a lot like those stygian dark days of October 1962.

Part of the labour of living out our baptismal vocation as faithful disciples is to humbly embrace our emotional wounds and struggles against sin, both of which require asking the needed grace and cooperating with same, this is our own encounter with Jesus at the well, a place to experience His gift of rest, such a place also is in the depths of the Jesus Prayer, Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, have mercy on me a sinner, as well as daily praying of the Divine Mercy Chaplet trusting these words of Jesus, revealing the extent of His merciful love, when St. Faustina was herself worn out Jesus told her and tells us: My mercy is greater than your sins and those of the whole world. [3]

Ultimately it is to enter the silence of God, to be as trustingly still as St. John at the last supper: One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to Him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, "Ask Him which one He means." Leaning back against Jesus,….  [Jn.13:23-25] Part of the tragedy of modernist approaches to translating Sacred Scripture is to excise and sanitize the texts, hence the modern translation: …. was reclining at Jesus’ side modernists are obsessed with cleaving the so-called ‘historical’ Jesus, from the Jesus of faith-truth passed down for millennia, hence removing in the text cited the intimacy. These poison ideas of modernism and relativism have infected Christianity because we reject the humility and ardent faith portrayed in the painting of the Angelus by Jean-Francois Millet or the humble trust of the children of Fatima, in the vision of and words of Our Blessed Mother. If the Church…is viewed as a human construction, the product of our own efforts, even the contents of the faith end up assuming an arbitrary character: the faith, in fact, no longer as an authentic, guaranteed instrument through which to express itself. Thus, without a view of the mystery of the Church that is also supernatural and not only sociological, Christology itself loses its reference to the divine….the Gospel becomes the Jesus-project, the social-liberation project or other merely historical, immanent projects that can seem religious in appearance, but which are atheistic in substance. [4]

Most of us are familiar with images of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and with contemplative visualization, being silent at prayer in secret, in the garden enclosed of our heart, where Jesus tells us: But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. [Mt. 6:5], so as we visualize Jesus, like St. John we can lean upon His chest, listening to the beating of His Most Sacred Heart, and more, as His Heart has been pierced open for us, we may enter and rest, embraced by the flames of His Divine, Merciful Heart’s love for us. ….in prayer man converses with God, he enters, through grace, into communion with Him, and lives in God. [5] to be in communion of  love with God is to live in the heart of the Holy Trinity, it is to experience the rest pro-offered to us by Jesus.

With humility and self- truth-speaking, we will embrace the gift of “I WILL BE YOUR REST.”, if we embrace the reality of the human condition: for now we realize that we are all “alienated”, in need of redemption. Now we realize that we are all in need of the gift of God’s redeeming love, so that we too can become “lovers” in our own turn. Now we realize that we always need God, who makes Himself our neighbour so that we can become neighbours. [6] And as such, truly loving one another, sharing with each other the gift of His rest.

The greatest of all graces is to love the Lord with a heart fully conscious of what it is about; to love not only “our dear Saviour” in the impersonal sense which the phrase so often has, but Christ himself, corporally and spiritually, as one loves an irreplaceable person to whom one is bound through thick and thin. The conviction that this person is simultaneously the eternal Logos, Son of the Living God and Saviour of mankind is grace unspeakable. [7] this brings to mind with clarity the words George Bernanos places on the lips of the dying priest, in his novel DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST: “All is grace.”

Requiescat in Pace, first recoded on tombstones in the 8th century, it was common on tombstones when I was a boy and many today use the initials R.I.P., almost off handily when skyping or emailing or posting on the web the death of a friend or someone deemed to be important.

To  Rest In Peace [ the English translation of the Latin ] is a prayer that when we die, in the state of grace, we will enter the eternity of Christ’s invitation promise: “Come to me, all you who labour and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves.” [Mt. 11;28,29]




Italics and highlights in quotes are mine.

[1] THE COMMUNION OF LOVE, by Matthew the Poor, p.37; St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 19[2] POUSYINIA, Catherin d Hueck Doherty, Madonna House Publication, p.26; 1993 edition.

[3] DIARY, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska; p. 523; Marians of the Immaculate Conception; 2003

[4] JOSEPH RATZINGER, Life in the Church and Living Theology; Maximilian Heinrich Heim; pp.266.67; Ignatius Press; 2007

[5] POPE BENEDICT XVI, JESUS of Nazareth; p.201; 2007 Doubleday

[6] St. Theophan the Recluse, from THE ART OF PRAYER, p. 51; Faber & Faber, 1985

[7] THE LORD, Romano Guardini, p. 190; Henry Regnery Company 1954

© 2022 Fr. Arthur Joseph










Friday, March 04, 2022



                                                   Doubt is not the same thing as a failure or refusal to believe. Mostly doubt comes when we are stressed, and satan, the father of lies, will exacerbate doubt to the point where we risk becoming deeply doubtful, unless we cry out to Jesus, like the man in the Gospel, “Lord I do believe, help my unbelief.” {cf. Mk. 9:24}

In and of itself doubt is part of human experience. If someone says to us on a clear that it will rain, the very sunniness of the say enables us to doubt it will rain.

Doubt is also part of the struggle to fully believe, as the Catechism teaches:  Voluntary doubt about the faith disregards or refuses to hold as true what God has revealed and the Church proposes for belief. Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness. [1]

For two decades I was deliberately doubtful and in bondage to spiritual blindness. By the grace of God I was granted a Damascus like Pauline experience, minus the external vision, and returned to a life of faith and am aware daily it is grace that sustains the gift of faith, and it is a gift, a most precious one.

Recent struggles with doubt have had more to do with trust than with weakening of faith, having been close to death twice in the past couple of years, the long hospital stays without being able to read or to pray as I wanted to, particularly by celebrating Holy Mass, caused me to over think my relationship with the Holy Trinity, Jesus in particular. Sometimes what feels like doubt is an over-working of the intellect.

We live in a time where sowers of doubt, in particular using the internet, have many people on edge, doubting a plethora of issues from the pandemic to faith, and trust, in our Loving God.

More an act of denial than doubt I was approaching fifty and tried to ignore the implication of aging.

I was on vacation at the Mother House and offered to help with the haying, and as was my practice each summer picked up a bale in each hand and went to toss them onto the wagon and was stunned when it was clear I no longer had the strength to toss them one handed, rather I had to pick up each bale with both hands in order to toss them.

Rereading recently a biography of St. John Newman, these lines from him which I could have written today! I am an old man, my hair white, my eyes sunk in, my hand so shrivelled, that I am sometimes quite startled to see it; but, when I shut my eyes and merely think. I can’t believe I am more than  25 years old, and smile to think how differently strangers must think of me from my own internal feelings. [2]

A common root cause of doubt; faith doubt, appropriate Gospel love of self and other, is constantly lopping in our minds and imagination past hurts which creates in the soul the darkness of unforgiveness and anger, and externally an inability to love, to forgive other.

Just as our ability to sin is not greater than Divine Mercy to forgive us, in imitation of and obedience to Christ nothing another human being does to us should be more impactful than our willingness to forgive.

Harbouring the poison of unforgiveness imprisons no one but ourselves.


As St. Mother Theresa teaches: Jesus taught us when He taught us to say the Our Father. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”, and this is for us life. This is the joy of loving. When you come to that part in the Our Father, stop and ask yourself, “Is it true what I am saying?”  He said, “Learn from Me for I am meek and humble of heart” [Mt.11:19] You cannot be meek, you cannot be humble, if you don’t forgive.”  [3]

Another aspect is this: we end up tying ourselves emotionally/spiritually into the proverbial Gordian Knot which we cannot unravel on our own. Grace is needed, and if we doubt Divine Mercy and grace then we need to confess the sin of unforgiveness, and the knot will be united, the poison drained out of us.

The cry for Divine Mercy, the grace for a forgiving heart, the dispersal from hounding us of evil spirits of unforgiveness, for such creatures in their diabolical attacks are by their very nature unforgiving creatures, the embracing of the commandment that we love one another as Jesus loves us, and His love is consoling fire and light of mercy, all this is found in the Our Father and the Jesus Prayer [Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner], as well as in sacramental confession and frequent reception of Jesus into our being in Holy Communion. As Hierotheos powerfully puts it: Just as smoke is dispersed in the air, so evil thoughts are dispersed by the invocation of the Name of Christ. [4]

“ Pray for the grace. Forgiveness doesn’t just come over night, especially forgiveness for someone who commits a heinous act against someone you love. I understand that. But you must try. Spend time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Pray to Jesus for the grace to forgive this man. Pray for his soul. Evie remained quiet. In the rational part of her mind, she knew Fr. Arthur spoke the truth. “ [5]

Emotionally, spiritually it can be an even more intense struggle, therefore a heroic act of charity, to forgive if we ourselves have been the victim of any form of abuse, which is the worst of betrayals. Jesus Himself was abused unto death and betrayed unto death, that we might have the grace to forgive.

We can draw comfort from these words of St. Faustina, disciple of Divine Mercy: I now see that Jesus will not leave in doubt any soul that loves Him sincerely. Jesus wants the soul that is in close communion with Him to be filled with peace, despite sufferings and adversities. [6]

No matter how we might be ’feeling’, love and faith are a choice, an act of the will, expressed in deeds, thus this prayer from St. Faustina: Jesus, Eternal Light, enlighten my mind, strengthen my will, inflame my heart and be with me as You have promised, for without You I am nothing. You know, Jesus, how weak I am. I do not need to tell You this, for You Yourself know perfectly well how wretched I am. It is in You that all my strength lies. [7]

A friend of Ukrainian ancestry told me yesterday he wishes someone would ‘take out’, i.e. kill Putin, we cannot wish such a thing as Christians. Like many people today, given the extreme stress of possibly the first major war in Europe since 1945, the stress of the pandemic, the swamp of misinformation assailing everyone, that we experience doubt or discouragement, or anger we are so worn out now in the third year of restrictions and disruption of what was ‘normal life’, we need to hear and take into our hearts the soothing and healing voice of Christ and in the darkness of these days, not unlike 1939 when Putin’s predecessor Hilter was causing fear of war throughout Europe, we need light, the light of Christ, to trust providence and find our way in this darkness.

St. Luke in his sixth chapter and St. Matthew in his fifth, sixth and seventh chapters of their accounts of the Holy Gospel, place before us the Beatitudes and many of Jesus’ teachings on how to live lives that are peaceful, holy and without sin. This is trusting in and cooperating with the gift of providence: Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going.” Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. the prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid. [8]

Blessed are the poor. We are all poor, in spirit, that is in the stark reality of our inability to protect ourselves from everything and everyone, people run red lights, people lie and gossip about us, governments in democratic countries behind the cover of the pandemic overreach, all this increases stress and for many angry frustration. Christ before us was lied and gossiped about, was illegally arrested, tortured, crucified for us and our redemption because of his personal love for each of us.

The times we live in are the times we have the grace for and to endure and these times are also the cross we are asked each day to take up as our own and follow Jesus, it is the via dolorosa of history through which we follow Him.

In the Beatitudes something of celestial grandeurs breaks through. They are no mere formulas of superior ethics, but tidings of sacred and supreme reality’s entry into the world. They are the fanfare to that which St. Paul refers in the eighth chapter of his Roman Epistle when he speaks of the growing glory of the children of God, and what the last chapters of the Apocalypse suggest in the reference to the new heaven and the new earth……..[9]

At times like this the teachings of Jesus may well strike us either as unreasonable, or beyond our strength.….Christ says: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matt.19;26) He shows that God not only demands this of us, but that he gives us his own understanding, his own strength, thus enabling us to accomplish his demands. We must accept this on faith. When the mind cries: But that is impossible! Faith replies: It is possible! Our faith is “the victory that overcomes the world”. (1 John 5:4) Every day will close with the realization we have failed. Ruefully we must place our failure at the feet of our Maker and begin again in the indomitable faith that we will succeed., because God himself gives us both the necessary will and the appointed way (Phil.2:13). [10]

We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. [2 Cor. 4: 7-10]

 There in lives our lived faith and hope. As St. Julian of Norwich says: “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

All Italics are mine

[1]  # 2088

[2]JOHN HENRY NEWMAN by Ian Kerr,p.522; Oxford University Press, 2009

[3] A CALL TO MERCY, MOTHER TERESA, edited by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC; p. 156; 2016, Image Books.

[4] ORTHODOX PSYCHOTHERAPY; BY Hierotheos, bishop of Nafpaktos; Birth of the Theotokos Monastery, 1995

[5]WHERE ANGELS PASS, by Ellen Gable, pp. 288-289; Full Quiver Publishing, 2021

[6] DIARY of St. Faustina; p. 202; Marians of the Immaculate Conception, 2003

[7] op. cit. p. 214

[8]  para. 1806

[10] THE LORD, Romano Guardini, pp. 73 & 75; Henry Regency Company 1954

© 2022 Fr. Arthur Joseph


Thursday, January 13, 2022



                                                  The news of the pandemic is relentlessly in our faces, as also are the contentious reports it is all a hoax.

What is obvious, without dispute, is the reality of a human family angry, divided, fearful, by and large untrusting of government. Under the cloak of the pandemic governments around the world, even those self-assured that they are democratic, are imposing increasingly autocratic and invasive laws and mandates which contradict the various constitutions of these same states.

Mostly these are countries led by leftist governments, though not all, some like China, Russia and several Eastern European countries are led by autocrats or outright dictators and while we usually are not surprised over violent protests against authoritarian governments increasingly we are seeing protests against the invasive actions of governments in democratic countries, which, as mentioned, themselves are becoming more authoritarian.

The ever deepening malaise and anger among populations, I suggest, is more dangerous to the human family than any virus. Indeed, anger is antithetical to Christianity. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord recalls the commandment, "You shall not kill," and adds to it the proscription of anger, hatred, and vengeance. Going further, Christ asks his disciples to turn the other cheek, to love their enemies. He did not defend himself and told Peter to leave his sword in its sheath. [1] Item 2302 from the Catechism bears quotation in full: By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill," our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral. Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice."

There are those Christians who appeal to Jesus’ righteous anger in cleansing the temple to justify their own anger. This is a specious argument as Jesus alone is righteous. We sinful humans are not and so our anger can never be pure.

The origins of the malaise and anger are deep rooted in human history and have metastasized throughout the human family since the 17th century. The roots are evolutionism, atheism, deism. The first leads to a denial of creation as being an ex nihilo gift from God, which we ourselves are, the second is a complete denial that God, who is Love, actually is, whereas deism, accepts that there may well be a supreme being, but one who does not interact with human beings thus eliminating the truth of Christ and redemption, of sin-evil and of goodness and charity.

 As for moral theology, Ratzinger says, the fundamental option of the deist world view means morality flattens out into an ethics without any reference to God. The modern man is left to his own devices, caught up in the evolutionary system of power, struggle, and survival. For, as a logical consequence, one would have to deny man himself – says Ratzinger – and “reduce him to a series of states….in which what is typically human and really moral would also disappear.” [3]

In this current era of history, with the pandemic and actions of states oppressing citizens, it is germane to seek some understanding of the state: Modern states are simply one way in which the three principles of denomination of kings is held by an entity called ‘the people’ [or ‘the nation’], that bureaucracies exist for the benefit of said ‘people’, and in which a variation on old, aristocratic contest and prizes has come to be re-labelled as ‘democracy’, most often in the form of national elections. If proof of that were required, we need only observe how much this particular arrangement is coming apart. As we noted there are now planetary bureaucracies [public and private ranging from the IMF and WTO to J. P. Morgan Chase and various credit-rating agencies] without anything that resembles a corresponding principle of global sovereignty or global field of competitive politics; and everything from cryptocurrencies to private security agencies, undermining the sovereignty of states. [4]

It should be noted the United Nations itself is part of the problem given certain countries have veto power and I would add the World Health Organization to the list of those undermining the sovereignty of states.

A not insignificant aspect of the contemporary and widespread crankiness, anger, fear, discouragement, stress, anxiety experienced globally today is the surfeit of so-called information overload as more and more people troll the internet to try and figure out what is happening and seeking information about same. Modern media, the internet in particular, is a tsunami of information whose provenance is suspect at best if not nigh impossible to unearth.

We can for our mental health, if we wish to tame raw emotions exacerbated by daily life in these contentious times make the effort to verify sources, in particular internet ones. This does not mean we have to agree with what we verify but it does mean we act and react based upon facts, not rumors or deliberate misinformation. Not only is our sanity and peace of heart at stake but the survival of our democratic institutions, maybe even of the nation itself demands misinformation not have us as a source of its spread.

A book I read many years ago is a salutary and cautionary tale applicable to our current situation as the human family: Was the problem with Germany in 1933 that it was not democratic enough or that it was too democratic? Did Nazism happen because of unchecked elite power or because the German masses were incapable of functioning as responsible citizens? Were the Nazis mired in the past, or were they dangerously modern? Was Nazim a specifically German problem or a manifestation of a wider crisis? [3]

All relevant questions we should ask of contemporary life in our own countries today.

Nazism was an extremist polity such as we find today on the extreme fringes of the left and right of much of contemporary politics, both sides using the pandemic as cover for their real goal to control everyone and everything. This approach to life in society is Marxist, which has penetrated the thinking and policies of so-called liberal democracies, headed in the US by the Democratic party and in Canada by the Liberal party.

In his latest book, Mark R. Levin outlines in vivid detail the cancerous spread of Marxist thought and ideology within the United States, titled AMERICAN MARXISM. It could/should also be titled CANADIAN MARXISM. Unfortunately, too many among us take false comfort in the belief that there could never be a Marxist based or oriented revolution in America, and what they are witnessing is just another in a cycle of liberal movements, which contribute to the evolution of American society and culture, and therefore, are worthy of approval and passive support. [4]

A tremendous source of hope and encouragement, for Christians in particular, accessible to anyone, Christian or not, is Sacred Scripture, the Bible, especially the Psalms, prayers of hope, drawn from the human condition and the Holy Gospels, place of encounter and communion with Christ and through Him becoming comprehensible to ourselves and growing in understanding of life as a member of the human family. For it is a salient truth unless we know Christ we remain incomprehensible to ourselves and will have immense difficulty understanding creation, other human beings and the unfolding of history.

In the great treasury of the Church, we can draw from the writings of the Fathers of the Church, the lives of the Saints, the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils, each a gift of the Holy Spirit, in particular for our era in history the Second Vatican Council, also the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. As these treasures will inform, guide, comfort, give hope and peace.

We need to face, as part of the mystery of taking up our cross each day and following Christ, being with Him and following Him through the reality of history that the days in which we live are filled with scandal, confusion and division. Yet, we have reason for hope. God will never abandon us either. He knows what is going on in the Church and He wants to correct it. [5] Pope Francis in a catechetical series begun in 2021 gives us all hope and strength through the example of St. Joseph: Joseph’s silence is not mutism; it is a silence full of listening, an  industrious  silence, a silence that brings out his great interiority. “The Father spoke a word, and it was his Son”, comments Saint John of the Cross,  — “and it always speaks in eternal silence, and in silence it must be heard by the soul”.  Jesus was raised in this “school”, in the house of Nazareth, with the daily example of Mary and Joseph. And it is not surprising that he himself sought spaces of silence in his days (cf. Mt 14:23) and invited his disciples to have such an experience by example: “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while” (Mk 6:31). How good it would be if each one of us, following the example of Saint Joseph, were able to recover this  contemplative dimension of life, opened wide in silence. But we all know from experience that it is not easy: silence frightens us a little, because it asks us to delve into ourselves and to confront the part of us that is most true. And many people are afraid of silence, they have to speak, and speak, and speak, or listen to radio or television… but they cannot accept silence because they are afraid. The philosopher Pascal observed that “all the unhappiness of men arises from one single fact, that they cannot stay quietly in their own chamber”. [6]

There is ancient Christian wisdom which states: la volonté de Dieu ne nous emmène jamais là où la grâce de Dieu ne nous soutient pas. The will of God never takes us where the grace of God does not sustain  us. If we trust His love and grace and that we have breath of life at the time in history most conducive to our becoming saints then borrowing from St. Teresa od Avila, we will not allow anything to frighten nor disturb us, but like Bl. Julian of Norwich choose to live in trust that all will be well even today when there is a worldwide spiritual and moral famine on the earth. Souls are dying because of a lack of spiritual nourishment. Hearts are broken; marriages are ruined; lives are destroyed; children are murdered in the womb; and truth and common sense are in short supply. The spiritual and moral famine in the world is devastating every nation, laying waste to humanity. What are we to do? To whom can we go to find nourishment for our souls? [7]

The obvious answer is to Jesus with the first step being less time spent trolling the internet, giving into anger and repeating endlessly to one another how terrible things are, instead like a cool, refreshing swim in the ocean on a hot summer’s day, immersing ourselves in the Holy Gospels, the lives of the Saints and their writings and the teachings of the Church.

The eternal Father, by a free and hidden plan of His own wisdom and goodness, created the whole world. His plan was to raise men to a participation of the divine life. Fallen in Adam, God the Father did not leave men to themselves, but ceaselessly offered helps to salvation, in view of Christ, the Redeemer "who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature". All the elect, before time began, the Father "foreknew and pre- destined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that he should be the firstborn among many brethren". He planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ. Already from the beginning of the world the foreshadowing of the Church took place. It was prepared in a remarkable way throughout the history of the people of Israel and by means of the Old Covenant.  In the present era of time the Church was constituted and, by the outpouring of the Spirit, was made manifest. At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the Fathers, all the just, from Adam and "from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect," will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church…………..At all times and in every race God has given welcome to whosoever fears Him and does what is right. God, however, does not make men holy and save them merely as individuals, without bond or link between one another. Rather has it pleased Him to bring men together as one people, a people which acknowledges Him in truth and serves Him in holiness. He therefore chose the race of Israel as a people unto Himself. With it He set up a covenant. Step by step He taught and prepared this people, making known in its history both Himself and the decree of His will and making it holy unto Himself. All these things, however, were done by way of preparation and as a figure of that new and perfect covenant, which was to be ratified in Christ, and of that fuller revelation which was to be given through the Word of God Himself made flesh. "Behold the days shall come saith the Lord, and I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel, and with the house of Judah . . . I will give my law in their bowels, and I will write it in their heart, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people . . . For all of them shall know Me, from the least of them even to the greatest, saith the Lord. Christ instituted this new covenant, the new testament, that is to say, in His Blood, calling together a people made up of Jew and gentile, making them one, not according to the flesh but in the Spirit. This was to be the new People of God. For those who believe in Christ, who are reborn not from a perishable but from an imperishable seed through the word of the living God, not from the flesh but from water and the Holy Spirit, are finally established as "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people . . . who in times past were not a people, but are now the people of God".[8]

The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts. For theirs is a community composed of men. United in Christ, they are led by the Holy Spirit in their journey to the Kingdom of their Father and they have welcomed the news of salvation which is meant for every man. That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds. [9]

Germaine very much in today’s political and social environments: Excessive intervention by the state can threaten personal freedom and initiative. the teaching of the Church has elaborated the principle of subsidiarity, according to which "a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the latter of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help to co-ordinate its activity with the activities of the rest of society, always with a view to the common good." [10]

That is the challenge, with peace of heart and without a lust for power, for all Christians if healing is to occur within the contemporary body politic. To present self or others as subsidiarity candidates.

Modern St. Thomas Mores, willing to lay down our lives for truth.. Modern St. Maxmilian Kolbes, willing to lay down our lives for others. With hearts meek and humble like Christ’s. Our template, as always is Jesus and His Gospel to love one another, as He loves us, doing good to those who hate us, praying for those who persecute us. A guide to implementing same in the market place is:  The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

In conclusion words of truth, hope and comfort from one of my favourite authors: Because the Lord is spirit [11Cor.3:17], He is also Love. The Spirit of God opens all things, permitting being to flow into being, life into life, me into you without violence or loss of individuality, freedom or dignity. The Spirit creates love, community of all that is good. He, Love, takes that which is Christ’s and gives it to us for our own [John 16:15]. He incorporates Christ Himself into out lives: ”For me to live is Christ and to die is gain [Phil.1:21]. Out of the depths of this love: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or danger, or the sword? Even as it is written, ‘For Thy sake we are put to death all day long. We are regarded as sheep for slaughter.’ For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Rom. 8:35-39] [11]










All Italics in quotations are mine.


[1]  Catechism # 2262 & 1866

‘wrath’ in the section is the same as anger

[2] JOSEPH RATZINGER, Life in the Church and Living Theology; Fundamentals of Ecclesiology with Reference to Lumen Gentium; complied by Maxmilian Heinrich Heim; p. 265; Ignatius Press, 2007

[3] THE DAWN OF EVERYTHING, a new History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow; p. 431; Penguin Random House Canada; 2021

[4] THE DEATH OF DEMOCRACY, Hitler’s rise to power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic.; Benjamin Carter Hett; p. 9; Penguin Random House Canada, 20185

[5] AMERICAN MARXISM; Mark R. Levin; p. 11; Threshold Editions 2021

[6] CONSECRATION TO ST. JOSEPH, Donald H. Calloway, MIC; pp. 756, 76; Marian Press 2020


[8] CONSECRATION TO ST. JOSEPH, op. cit. p. 111

[9]  ch. I, para.1 & ch. II, para. 1

[10]  preface apar. 1

[11]  catechism # 1883

[12] THE LORD; Romano Guardini; p/450; Henry Regnery Company 1957

© 2022 Fr. Arthur Joseph


















Friday, December 31, 2021



                           When we hear from Jesus the word ‘go’ it is the vocation of being sent, of being missionaries, bearers of the Gospel and of Jesus Himself to others.

GO WITHOUT FEARS INTO THE DEPTHS OF MEN’S HEARTS.I SHALL BE WITH YOU….. PRAY ALWAYS. I SHALL BE OUR REST. These last words of the Little Mandate are both a gift of mission and a promise of intimacy with Jesus as we live them out.

What does it means to ‘go into the depths’ of the heart of another human being? How dangerous is it that fear is part of the challenge?

This mandate to go into the depths of hearts presupposes we are not acting merely out of curiosity, far less to acquire information to be used to control someone else. The mandate is focused here on humble, loving, service to other in attentive listening, without judgement or being fearful of encountering the pain in the heart of other.

Prayer for the gift of the Holy Spirit of discernment and His words to be spoken is essential. Sound advice here from the Blessed Callistus, monk and patriarch: if you wish to pray as you ought, imitate the dulcimer player: bending his head a little and inclining his ear to the strings, he strikes the strings skilfully, and enjoys the melody he draws from their harmonious notes. Is this example clear to you? The dulcimer is the heart, the strings – the feelings; the hammer – remembrance of God; the player – mind. By remembrance of God and of Divine things the mind draws holy feelings from the God-fearing heart, then in effable sweetness fills the soul, and the mind, which is pure, is lit up by Divine illuminations. [2]

Going ‘into the depths’ of another’s heart presumes total self-forgetfulness, no agenda other than to listen, heart to heart, with no rush to comment or say anything. It is a matter of peaceful, loving, presence to other.

While it is true the heart is a major organ in the human body The spiritual tradition of the Church also emphasizes the heart, in the biblical sense of the depth’s of one’s being, where the person decides for or against God. [3]

Therefore, we are called to enter fearlessly into the depths of a most sacred space and must consciously ask Christ to accompany us there.

Chatting ‘heart to heat’ is a common expression and this should influence our attentiveness and any words we are inspired to speak. In these days when countless of our brothers and sisters live in the illusion of texting as true communication, and likewise use other forms of social media, numerous are the lonely who ache in their hearts because for all the frenzy of social communication that dark misnomer is neither.

True social communication is charitable heart to heart speech, with attentive  listening, face to face. All else is illusion.

Perhaps never before has a humble, loving willingness to patiently listen to other been as needed as today in our wired world of selfies and cryptic texting.

We should not fear listening deeply to other.  We should seek to be present to other. For it is being present and attentive to Christ.



It is said of St. Mother Teresa that she had a notable gift to enable to set at peace a restless and troubled mind”. Her method was simple: first she would listen. She would listen attentively to the account being related to her, but even more she would listen to the pain and confusion that accompanied it……In this heart-to-heart exchange, she was able to listen without prejudice and without a judgemental attitude, giving advice in a way that often was unexpected. With her “vision of faith”, she was able to look at the issue at hand from God’s perspective. [4]

Pray always. I will be your rest.

The last words of the Little Mandate contain a directive and a promise.

Pray always is rooted in St. Paul’s injunction: Pray without ceasing. [1 Thess. 5:17].Prayer is the life of the new heart. It ought to animate us at every moment. But we tend to forget him who is our life and our all. This is why the Fathers of the spiritual life in the Deuteronomic and prophetic traditions insist that prayer is a remembrance of God often awakened by the memory of the heart "We must remember God more often than we draw breath." But we cannot pray "at all times" if we do not pray at specific times, consciously willing it. These are the special times of Christian prayer, both in intensity and duration. The Tradition of the Church proposes to the faithful certain rhythms of praying intended to nourish continual prayer. Some are daily, such as morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meals, the Liturgy of the Hours. Sundays, centered on the Eucharist, are kept holy primarily by prayer. The cycle of the liturgical year and its great feasts are also basic rhythms of the Christian's life of prayer. The Lord leads all persons by paths and in ways pleasing to him, and each believer responds according to his heart's resolve and the personal expressions of his prayer. However, Christian Tradition has retained three major expressions of prayer: vocal meditative, and contemplative. They have one basic trait in common: composure of heart. This vigilance in keeping the Word and dwelling in the presence of God makes these three expressions intense times in the life of prayer. [5]

God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” [Gal.4.6] 

To pray always is not a matter of reciting various formal prayers, such as the Holy Rosary or various Litanies, nor should we stress ourselves out by setting burdensome quantities of such forms of prayer. To pray always is a state of being aware, aware the Holy Spirit Himself is always at prayer within us, aware Jesus is our perfect prayer to the Father and that we have the Holy Mass wherein we are brought together by the Lord, that He leads us to meet each other. This moment should issue a call to us to accept one another inwardly, open ourselves up, go to meet each other, that even in the distraction of everyday life we should maintain this state of being brought together by the Lord. Our cities, as we all know, have become places of solitude of a kind never known before……But the Lord brings us together and opens us up, to that we can accept one another, belong to one another, so that in standing before Him we can learn again to stand next to each other. [6]

We can offer no greater prayer than to love one another. Loving always is to be prayer.

The above quotation connects with this from St. John Cassian: ….before we pray we should make an effort to cast out from the innermost parts of our heart whatever we do not wish to steal upon us as we pray, so that in this way we can fulfill the apostolic words: ‘Pray without ceasing.’ And: ‘In every place lifting up pure hands without anger and dissension.’ For we shall be unable to accomplish this command unless our mind, purified of every contagion and vice and given over to virtue alone as to a natural good, is fed upon the continual contemplation of almighty God. [7]

One of our professors in the seminary, teaching on prayer, told a story attributed to St. Theresa of Avila that she had become irritated the Lord was not freeing her from distractions and that eventually the Lord did respond to her plea stating: “Why should I relieve you my daughter. It is your perseverance in prayer that most pleases me.”

In his book NEW SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION, Thomas Merton has a whole chapter on the issue of distractions in prayer. Prayer and love are really learned in the hour when prayer becomes impossible, and your heart turns to stone. If you have never had any distractions you don’t know how to pray….it is useless to get upset when you cannot shake off distractions… is the will to pray that is the essence of prayer, and the desire to find God, to see Him and to love Him is the one thing that matters…His presence does not depend on your thoughts of Him. He is unfailingly there; if He were not, you could not even exist. [8]

The next and final instalment will be to focus on the promise; I WILL BE YOUR REST.






[2] Writings from the Philokalia on Prayer of the Heart; p.271; Faber and Faber, 1951

[3]  #368

[4] A CALL TO MERCY, MOTHER TERESA; p.168; Image Books 2016

[5] Catechism of the Catholic Church #’s 267-2699

[6] Theology of the Liturgy; Cardinal Ratzinger; p.407; Ignatius Press 2014 [italics are mine]

[7]John Cassian; The Conferences; Newman Press, 1997; p.331 [Italics are mine]

[8]NEW SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION; Thomas Merton; pps.221-224; a New Directions book, 1961 [Italics are mine]

© 2021 Fr. Arthur Joseph