Saturday, February 15, 2020



                                             ARISE – GO!

There is a tv ad running during the news lately which shows very bored young people doing various things to relieve their boredom, including allegedly reaching the end of the internet! The joke being that allegedly it is impossible to reach the end of the internet. Of course, the point of the ad is that these young people get up, that is arise out of their boredom and buy a new car, brand X, and all will be well. The dark tragedy of course is that in modern culture we are told ‘stuff’ rather than relationships will fulfill us. In point of fact their ‘arising’ is actually a descent further into this consumerist culture of darkness and death.

The ad did remind me of the story of St. Augustine walking along the seashore pondering and trying to intellectually grasp the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. The Saint comes upon a young boy running with a conch shell full of water which he pours into a hole he had dug in the sand. Back and forth, back and forth so the Saint asks: “What are you doing?” “I am going to put the sea into this hole.” “That’s impossible!” asserts the holy adult, to which the child replies: “I will put this sea into this hole before you will ever comprehend the Holy Trinity!”

Faith teaches us, from Revelation, and the Sacred Tradition of the Church affirms, the reality of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Perichoresis περιχώρησις is the ancient Greek word which has been used since the early Church Fathers sought to articulate in the poverty of mere human language this splendid mystery. At its simplest the term articulates the infinite of infinite, with no beginning nor end of interpenetrating circulation, that is the ceaseless movement of love between the Divine Persons to/from/for each other.

The immensity of Trinitarian love is such that, again using the poverty of human language, it explodes, shines, shimmers, moves, arises, goes outward: thus, all creation is created and is beloved of the Trinitarian Creator. Within creation the greatest intensity of this Divine Fire-Movement of love is in the creation of we human beings in God’s very image and likeness, and our redemption by Jesus Christ, God-Incarnate, our sanctification by the Holy Spirit.

Since Adam and Eve, we have, and continue to, throw back in the face of God this incredible existence as beloved of the Trinity. That is what sin entails: rejection of being beloved of God by rejecting love.

The unwaveringly faithful intensity of Divine Trinitarian love is such that when we have fallen, wandered or run away, are lost in the darkness, the Father sends the Son to become a human being like us in all things but sin. Jesus Incarnate takes sin upon Himself and loves us literally to death, His death on the Cross, and once He has ascended into heaven we are gifted with the Holy Spirit, the Sanctifier.

We therefore can say the origin of ARISE [1], which the dictionary defines as: to originate from a source, to come into being, to exist, is Trinitarian in terms of all that has come to be in creation, ourselves most of all, for the Holy Trinity is the source of all, of every creature who has been, is, ever will be.

If we look at the ‘God said…’ passages in Genesis we can contemplate the ex nihilo [out of no-thing] creative action, movement, of the Holy Trinity in each of the ‘let there be’ and the ‘there was’ statements as movements of God saying ARISE! [Gn. 1: 31 & Gn. 2: 1-25]

The key to all the proceeding reflection is the Incarnation of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, thus the Prologue of the Holy Gospel according to St. John [Jn.1: 1-18] can never be contemplated too much. Indeed, we will reach the end of the internet before we will completely be immersed in the fullness of the Prologue.

We arise into existence by the creative love-act of the Holy Trinity breathing life, human life, personhood, into the matter provided by our mother and father in our mother’s womb.

We are created in the first instance to be beloved of the Trinity, this loving God who is so tender and aware of all He creates, for example: “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name” {Ps.147:4}. Indeed were we able to count all the stars that exist within the cosmos that mass of creation would be as nothing compared to the absolute unique belovedness of each of us, for while we are all brothers and sisters we are also unique individuals, thus we rejoice and sing with the Palmist: “ I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” [Ps. 139:14]

That we might, when we arise from the womb through birth, then grow through the various stages of life, each itself a type of arising, until the moment comes when the Holy Trinity calls us, through the mystery of physical death, to arise into eternal life, we are accompanied on the journey, strengthened, endowed with all necessary grace and sacraments, because God Himself, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, Jesus the Incarnate One, arose, by the power of the Holy Spirit from the womb of Mary, His and our Mother, to dwell among us as a human being, a man like us in all things but sin, arising from the waters of the Jordan with the Father exultantly assuring us Jesus is His Beloved Son to whom we should listen, and the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus, confirming Jesus’ redemptive mission: all that for we the Beloved of the Holy Trinity!

The word arise occurs numerous times throughout Sacred Scripture and to cite and meditate upon each would take volumes!

By the love-action of the Holy Spirit we arise from the waters of Baptism as co-heirs with Christ, as living temples of the same Holy Spirit, as disciples of Christ, called to be salt of the earth and light of the world in the heart of the human family, so we should take comfort that the Church prays constantly, and invites us to pray, for all help needed as we arise each day, itself a gift, to continue the journey, the pilgrimage of grace.

St. John Damascene in his prayer before going to sleep affirms, and Pope Leo xiii uses the same phrase in his great prayer for protection from evil spirits, from which derives the prayer to St. Michael the Archangel: God arises; His enemies are scattered and those who hate Him flee before Him.

This is the ever vigilant and tender, ever loving and all merciful Holy Trinity keeping us safe from all harm, IF we willingly allow ourselves to be so loved, for true love never imposes, never imprisons, always protects the freedom of the Beloved, hence when Love creates us we are created with free will.

Again we know all this because of Jesus Christ, yet often allow the struggles, pains, challenges, disappointments of life, the sins of others against us or our own sins, to bend us towards ourselves which results in a type of memory asphyxiation triggering a shriveling of our awareness of being beloved and, unless we have recourse to sacramental confession, or as needed spiritual direction, even medical or other therapeutic help, we will be lost – though the Good Shepherd will never cease arising to seek us out and find us, offering to lift us up, that is make it so we arise from whatever quagmire we have lost ourselves in.

While the following references the Apostles-disciples, it applies to each of us and should comfort and affirm how beloved we are, keeping in mind that not every human being arises to a new day of grace from a warm bed, or in the heart of a loving family. Many arise into another day of being homeless, or into brutality, abuse, addiction, in a hospital, nursing home or hospice, into another day in prison or a labour or concentration camp, into a new day of hunger, persecution, prejudice, unemployment, the immense pain of wondering who and why they are, what’s it all about, is there a God, is there love?: Simply to be known and loved by Him, as they do in fact feel known and loved by Him, unaccountably gives a savor of excellence and worth to their poor lives. Just to be with Him is untold treasure. Nothing could be more thoroughly engaging, thrilling, and challenging than His friendship. With Him you feel often thrust to the edge of mental and physical endurance and yet, at the same time, oddly enthralled, rejuvenated by His all-engulfing presence. His very presence awakens in them a deep yearning for fullness of life, for immortality. [2]

THAT is the communion of love, the splendour of grace, the joy of life into which, by the grace-gift of a new day of beginning anew, we arise each day.

As mentioned Sacred Scripture is replete with the word arise. St. John Paul speaks to this referencing the parallel word rise, which also means movement upwards, towards, an invitation to follow, and when applied to communion of love with the Holy Trinity, with Jesus as disciples, it is a vocational invitation: When “His hour” had come, Jesus said to those who were with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane……”Rise, let us be on our way” [cf. Mark 14:42]. Not only He must “be on His way” to fulfill His Father’s will; they, too, must go with Him. That invitation, “Rise, let us be on our way,” is addressed to us…..His chosen friends. Even if these words indicate a time of trial, great effort, and a painful cross, we must not allow ourselves to give way to fear. On another occasion…..Jesus said: “Rise, and do not be afraid!” [Matt. 17:7] God’s love does not impose burdens upon us that we cannot carry, nor make demands of us that we cannot fulfill. For whatever He asks of us, He provides the help that is needed……Rise, let us be on our way!” Let us go forth full of trust in Christ. He will accompany us as we journey……..[3]


[2] FIRE OF MERCY HEART of the WORLD, volume III, MEDITATION ON THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW, Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis, p. 201; Ignatius Press 2012 [underling is of what in the original is in italics and, as the good Sisters of Charity taught us as children, capitalized ‘Him’ where the refences are to Jesus]

[3] RISE, LET US BE ON OUR WAY, John Paul II, pps. 215, 216; Warner Books, 2004

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

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