Monday, April 27, 2020


The absence of daily posts has been due to a tremendous gift from my family of days out of the city and in the countryside, where I watched as finally winter surrendered to spring, the snow melted away, swans, blue birds, robins, hawks, snow geese, among others, returned. The music of their songs joined that special sound of spring waters running over rocks, the trees swaying in the wind making their own music, the night skies, not hampered by city lights, dazzling with innumerable stars.

The silence away from city traffic, even the reduced traffic of this temporary new normal is a persistent hum gladly missed!

I was far enough out of the city no reliable internet, even if I had wanted to post anything, so instead decided each day to draw one sentence from the day’s spiritual reading.

The first was in a letter from a friend which arrived the day before I left: We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. ~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Each human act has a redemptive value whether dusting a shelf or feeding the hungry. ~ Catherine Doherty.

This is the real power of joy, to make us certain that, beneath all grief, the most fundamental of realities is joy itself. ~ Sister Wendy Beckett

Speaking about the police who, in Jn.7:45ff, refused to arrest Jesus: The vocation of policeman was sanctified that day when these officers refused to arrest the Saviour. ~ Bishop Fulton Sheen

Do good to one who wrongs you, and God will be your friend. ~ St. Anthony the Great

For me God’s gift of freedom and life in Christ are inseparable from my life in the Church. ~ Robert D. Pelton.

The heart has its reasons that reason doesn’t know. ~ Blaise Paschal

Real love does not reason, does not measure, does not create barriers, does not calculate, does not remember offenses and does not impose conditions. ~ Francis Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan

In our generation and culture, we have to rediscover the value of suffering in general and learn that suffering can be very positive in helping us to mature, to become more “ourselves” and to be closer to the Lord, Who suffered for us and suffers within us. ~ Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI

The best prayer always occurs beyond words, in movements toward God of the heart, the will, the body. ~ Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis

Everything you do has meaning because of who you are. ~ St. John Paul II

Struggle and battle are normal in life. ~ Pope Francis

The God of all grace who called you to His eternal glory through Christ Jesus will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you after you have suffered a little. ~ 1 Pt. 5: 10

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Wednesday, April 15, 2020



Flocks of geese for days now have been flying further north, the wild rabbits, which inhabit this city, are changing their white coats to brown; the various winter birds have headed south; songbirds are returning and singing with joy,  as the snow, like a lowering tide retreating to the ocean, slips away from lawns and flower beds, albeit slowly, but perceptively. The sounds of people raking away leaves and other debris, preparing for summer flowers and green lawns is the fanfare of hope, all will be renewed again, for hope, like spring, always comes new.

These are normal aspects of unfolding spring, yet this year I see them as examples of human resilience, even a type of defiance telling this pandemic that while it may wound us, it cannot defeat us.

The main cause of our hope, joy, courage, originates not within ourselves, though we must choose to act from the basis of the hope, joy, courage offered us.

The source of our hope, joy, courage is not found in any book on how to cope, or handle emotions or some kind of how to get through this, keeping a mind this is new for everyone, so no one has gone through it yet. If they have where are the breadcrumbs to follow?

Greater than all that is the One who loves us, listens to us, takes all our anguish and questions upon Himself and more, within Himself, and walks with us so that neither on the unusual walking during this crisis distant from one another, or virtually immobile in isolation: He is as close to each of us as a desperately needed hug.

All the above flows from the beautiful Easter Event of Jesus with the men walking on the road to Emmaus: Now that very day two of them were going to a village seven miles from Jerusalem called Emmaus, and they were conversing about all the things that had occurred. [Lk.24:13,14]

People are talking, have been for weeks. The media seems obsessed with all COVID news all the time, so much so we hear very little else about what is happening within the world. This creates an Alice Through the Looking Glass distortion of information about the rest of life on earth within the human family and actually adds to stress and fear, which erode hope and joy, and frequently spreads bogus information.

And it happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them [v15]

Jesus, 24/7 as the saying goes, seeks to walk with us, to listen to what we have to say, to take it into the depths of His compassionate, understanding Heart – if we are willing.

He asked them, “What are you discussing as you walk along?” They stopped, looking downcast. [v.17]

Most of the rest of the chapter is the dialogue between Jesus and the two men, identified as disciples.

The danger is to read any of the Gospel as merely a nice, even comforting story from long ago!

Sacred Scripture is alive and immediate and is intended, when we contemplate it, to enable to us to see and say, yeah, Jesus is Risen, Jesus is Alive, Jesus is walking with me!

……it happened that, while He was with them at table, He took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them. With that their eyes were opened and they recognized Him, but He vanished from their sight. Then they said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way and opened the scriptures to us?” [vs.30-32]

Love recognizes love.

It is part of the mystery of God that He acts so generously…..He continues to knock gently at the doors of our hearts and slowly opens our eyes if we open our doors to Him. [1]

[1] Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI: JESUS OF NAZARETH, p. 276; Ignatius Press 2011

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Tuesday, April 14, 2020



O God, who have bestowed on us paschal remedies, endow Your people with heavenly gifts, so that, possessed of perfect freedom, they may rejoice in heaven over what gladdens them now on earth.

That is the opening prayer of today’s Holy Mass in the octave of Easter, the octave being the continuous unfolding of the day of His Holy Resurrection.

In the midst of the darkness of this pandemic, because we dwell in kairos, the Lord’s moment in time, we are dwelling in this moment of eight days moment, in light, joy, love, hope.

By a mysterious instinct, human neediness and divine compassion always have their arms out, extended toward one another, on the watch for the first possible moment of embrace. [1]

While not perfect, what human institution is, Canada and this province, do have a remarkable health care system, as most G7 countries do. I mention this because whenever I am not sure about something, I think about writing I check with my Spiritual Director, as part of what follows I was unsure about. He just said: “Absolutely you must write that.” Spiritual direction these days is by phone, but grace is not frustrated by distance. Never!

So, several days before Holy Week I realized I was not feeling well, procrastinated for a couple of days, until I faced two realities: One if I had somehow gotten the virus the obligation to preserve the gift of life each of us has been given means deal with it. Using a variation of an expression familiar to me from my childhood in Nova Scotia the Premier said the other day: “Stay the blazes home!” That word ‘blazes’ was commonly inserted into various situations when I was a boy such as: “What the blazes are you doing?”, which is exactly what I said to myself because the second reality was, if indeed I had the virus, I was a walking threat to anyone around me.

The Alberta Health Service has an online self-assessment tool which, near midnight, I filled out and submitted. Within a few minutes the phone rang, and it was a clerk, so self-identified, verifying I indeed was the person who submitted the form. I was told someone else would call immediately, which they did, and they identified themselves as an assessment officer. After I answered their questions, I was told remain totally isolated, in a word I was quarantined, and that in the morning someone else would call and arrange a time and place for me to be tested.

The call came in early, I was told when, where and the protocols to observe in the car with whomever would drive me – which a friend did, bless him and his wife because they provided me with a mask and protective gloves. The test took only moments and I was reminded to remain quarantined until I got the results.

To be blunt Holy Week was a visceral experience, even Holy Easter, until yesterday the call came. Test results: negative and I was told, because of my age avoid public transit, going for groceries etc., but observing proper distancing I could go out for walks etc. I beg anyone who feels unwell, please get tested.

The best way to describe the exaltation at the news is I felt like Ebenezer Scrooge, wonderfully portrayed by Alister Sim [2] in the film version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. It is the scene were after dancing around with sheer joy he has survived the night, Scrooge in his office says he doesn’t really understand why he is so happy, indeed does not deserve to be so.

Scrooge got it wrong for it is not a matter of deserving happiness or not. Happiness is a divine gift – not the emotion which is a by-product – the penetrating joy. The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness. This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfill it: We all want to live happily; in the whole human race there is no one who does not assent to this proposition, even before it is fully articulated. How is it, then, that I seek you, Lord? Since in seeking you, my God, I seek a happy life, let me seek you so that my soul may live, for my body draws life from my soul and my soul draws life from you. God alone satisfies. [3]

The times we are in with all the attendant disruption, stress, isolation may cause us to question all sorts of things, perhaps hitherto taken for granted. Rather a normal reaction given what the whole human family has been thrust into. The truth is Love Himself has created us to be beloved, to be filled with joy, to experience hope.

All that Jesus told the Apostles He tells us: I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. [Jn.15:11]

A prayer of joy to Our Lady who is known as Cause of our joy:  Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.  For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia. Has risen, as he said, alleluia. Pray for us to God, alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

[1] FIRE OF MERCY THE HEART OF THE WORLD, Volume III; pp. 389/90; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis; Ignatius Press, 2012



© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Monday, April 13, 2020



Today was warm and sunny and lots of people of all ages, parents with their children, were out walking and I noted walking more upright, smiling more, with a certain bounce in their step.

Walking icons of courage, hope, in the Light of Christ Risen.

During his homily at the Easter Vigil, Pope Francis assured us that: Tonight we acquire a fundamental right that can never be taken away from us: the right to hope. It is a new and living hope that comes from God. It is not mere optimism; it is not a pat on the back or an empty word of encouragement, uttered with an empty smile. No! It is a gift from heaven, which we could not have earned on our own. Over these weeks, we have kept repeating, “All will be well”, clinging to the beauty of our humanity and allowing words of encouragement to rise up from our hearts. But as the days go by and fears grow, even the boldest hope can dissipate. Jesus’ hope is different. He plants in our hearts the conviction that God is able to make everything work unto good, because even from the grave he brings life. [1a]

People are pretty vocal about ‘my rights’, such that for decades on the streets, in the media, in the courts, it seems innumerable are the new ‘rights’ conceived of as being something heretofore denied such and such a group, and that must be enshrined into law. Things seem quieter on that front during this pandemic, perhaps because it is occupying most of everyone’s attention, moving us all to realize we truly need one another and cannot get through this on one’s own.

What is both fascinating and beautiful is, as the impact of this pandemic drags on, numerous are the examples of people moving away from extreme individualism and placing others first.

Certainly, the nurses and doctors, the other first responders, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, truck and train drivers, bus drivers, letter carriers, those who haul the garbage away, keep the streets clean, the lights on, the phone, cable, internet services working, all deserve our outmost gratitude for their courage and care for us.

Also striking, the emerging selfless generosity of those who do the shopping for seniors, donate to food banks, put signs of gratitude and camaraderie in their windows, who unfailingly when shopping, on the transit systems, out walking, practice charitable distancing.

All of this shows increased love of others, and courage.

Again, from Pope Francis’ homily: Courage. This is a word often spoken by Jesus in the Gospels. Only once do others say it, to encourage a person in need: “Courage; rise, [Jesus] is calling you!” (Mk 10:49). It is he, the Risen One, who raises us up from our neediness. If, on your journey, you feel weak and frail, or fall, do not be afraid, God holds out a helping hand and says to you: “Courage!”. You might say, as did Don Abbondio (in Manzoni’s novel), “Courage is not something you can give yourself” (I Promessi Sposi, XXV). True, you cannot give it to yourself, but you can receive it as a gift. All you have to do is open your heart in prayer and roll away, however slightly, that stone placed at the entrance to your heart so that Jesus’ light can enter. You only need to ask him: “Jesus, come to me amid my fears and tell me too: Courage!” With you, Lord, we will be tested but not shaken. And, whatever sadness may dwell in us, we will be strengthened in hope, since with you the cross leads to the resurrection, because you are with us in the darkness of our nights; you are certainty amid our uncertainties, the word that speaks in our silence, and nothing can ever rob us of the love you have for us. [1b] [2]

[1a: underling added & b]

[2] As I was finishing this I heard from outside the telltale wack, wack of leather against leather and, while the ‘boys of summer’ are on hiatus due to the plague, looking out the window, there on the bike path, a father and son playing a game of catch. That too is a sign of hope.

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Friday, April 10, 2020


Thursday, April 09, 2020



It is Holy Thursday!

In the Divine Office of Readings on this day, St. Melito of Sardis says: It is He who endured every kind of suffering in all those who foreshadowed Him. In Abel He was slain, in Isaac bound, in Jacob exiled, in Joseph sold, in Moses exposed to die. He was sacrificed in the Passover lamb, persecuted in David, dishonoured in the prophets.

It is He who was made man of the Virgin, He who was hung on the tree; it is He who was buried in the earth, raised from the dead, and taken up to the heights of heaven. He is the mute lamb, the slain lamb, the lamb born of Mary, the fair ewe. He was seized from the flock, dragged off to be slaughtered, sacrificed in the evening, and buried at night. On the tree no bone of His was broken; in the earth His body knew no decay. He is the One who rose from the dead, and who raised man from the depths of the tomb.

This is the day when Jesus, bending down to wash the feet of the Apostles shows us how to truly love and serve one another, to humble ourselves before others as Jesus does.

This is the day when Jesus assures us of His promise: …. behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” [Mt. 28.20], through two tremendous gifts: Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity in the Most Holy Eucharist and Himself in the gift and mystery of Priesthood, for every ordained priest, from the Apostles to the last man who shall be ordained on earth, is in persona Christi.

The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments tend."… In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained."… In his Eucharistic presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and gave himself up for us,… and he remains under signs that express and communicate this love…[1]

St. John Paul wrote a beautiful book on priesthood in which he stresses: The priesthood, in its deepest reality is the priesthood of Christ. It is Christ who offers Himself, His Body and Blood, in sacrifice to God the Father, and by this sacrifice makes righteous in the Father’s eyes all mankind and, indirectly, all creation. The priest, in his daily celebration of the Eucharist, goes to the very heart of this mystery. For this reason the celebration of the Eucharist must be the most important moment of the priest’s day, the center of his life. [2]

“Sweetest Jesus, Body and Blood most Holy, be the delight and pleasure of my soul, my strength and salvation in all temptations, my joy and peace in every trial, my light and guide in every word and deed, and my final protection in death. Amen.” ~ St. Thomas Aquinas

[1]      paras. 1374 & 1380

[2] ON THE FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF MY PRIESTLY ORDINATION GIFT AND MYSTERY; Pope John Paul II; p.75; Doubleday, 1996, © 1996 Libreria Editrice Vaticana {underling mine}

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Tuesday, April 07, 2020



The north winds were extremely fierce today, belying the radiant sun’s offer of warmth. Fierce winds are part of life here in the northern west. The winds reminded me of when St. John Paul was in this city on his pastoral visit to Canada and, after giving the final blessing started to move from the altar, turned around, came back, his chasuble flapping in the wind, and said in his heavily accented English: “Canada! Is big country and rather windy!”

Went for my daily Holy Rosaries walk and the sound of the wind in the trees reminded me of: We know that all creation is groaning in labour pains even until now; and not only that, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, we also groan within ourselves as we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For we were saved in this hope. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. In the same way, the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings. Now He who searches hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will. [Rms. 8:22-27]

In a few days all the above will be, we will be, renewed again in Christ in His Holy Resurrection. He became Incarnate, was born precisely to suffer, die, rise, ascend and with the Father to send forth upon us anew at Pentecost the Most Holy Spirit who prays within us, for us.

In a sense through the liturgical seasons we dwell in kairos in a type of mobius strip of the never ending seasons of grace here on earth, grace which flows over and within us as sunlight cascades around and within all creation, within us.

These dark and stressful days when doubt or stress assails it is good to remember the beginning with the Infant Jesus: The smile of the Infant holds the secret of everlasting life……As the All-powerful became visibly vulnerable, He marked our inmost hearts with the truth that the “Most High” is most near. In becoming powerless, He embraced the powerlessness that lies at the heart of all pain. It seemed to hold no promise, to be absolutely nothing at all. Then He touched it with infant hands, with pierced hands, with dead hands, with risen hands, and that very nothing became the seed of unconquerable life. [1]

[1] CIRCLING THE SUN MEDITATIONS ON CHRIST IN LITURGY AND TIME, Robert D. Pelton, pp.25 & 27; The Pastoral Press, Washington D.C., 1986

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Monday, April 06, 2020



Suffering is nothing by itself. But suffering shared with the passion of Christ is a wonderful gift, the most beautiful gift, a token of love. ~ St. Mother Teresa

This Holy Week we all share in totally unexpected global suffering.

We’d all like to be rid of it, physically, emotionally, spiritually.

Jesus willingly, in His own suffering, this week of His Passion and Death has, does, will, take it upon Himself: See, I am creating new heavens and a new earth; The former things shall not be remembered nor come to mind. [Is.65:17]

This is also a good week to remember the words of Pope Francis who deeply understands what every human being is suffering: “When evening had come” (Mk 4:35). The Gospel passage we have just heard begins like this. For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets and our cities; it has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void, that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air, we notice in people’s gestures, their glances give them away. We find ourselves afraid and lost. Like the disciples in the Gospel we were caught off guard by an unexpected, turbulent storm. We have realized that we are on the same boat, all of us fragile and disoriented, but at the same time important and needed, all of us called to row together, each of us in need of comforting the other. On this boat… are all of us. Just like those disciples, who spoke anxiously with one voice, saying “We are perishing” (v. 38), so we too have realized that we cannot go on thinking of ourselves, but only together can we do this.  [1]

At dusk weeping comes for the night; but at dawn there is rejoicing……..You changed my mourning into dancing; You took off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness. [Ps.30:6&12]

At the moment it does feel like dawn is a long way off, that the ‘sackcloth’ of this pandemic and its attendant isolation and stress is only getting heavier.

Each step of the Via Dolorossa how heavier the Cross undoubtedly became for Jesus as He struggled to walk after loss of blood in the garden, being tortured, lack of sleep, the heat of the day, the stress of it all, and how far distant must the top of the Golgotha hill seemed.

Each heavy step we take through this new normal, if we look down, we will see the Sacred Blood imprint of His own footsteps.

He has been this way already for us, He is leading us, and also walking with us. While we carry the cross of these days with Him, He also carries us.

While we should be as Simon of Cyrene for one another, He is Simon of Cyrene for us.

Why should we have no fear? Because man has been redeemed by God……….In the Redemption we find the most profound basis for the words “Be not afraid!”: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son” [cf.Jn.3:16]. This Son is always present in the history of humanity. The Redeemer pervades all of human history…..It is the light that “shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it”[cf.Jn.1:5]. The power of Christ’s Cross and Resurrection is greater than any evil which man could or should fear. [2]


[2] CROSSING THE THRESHOLD OF HOPE, by His Holiness John Paul II; p. 219; Alfred A. Knopf, Canada, 1994 [underling added]

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Sunday, April 05, 2020



Passion/Palm Sunday, the first day of the holiest, most hope filled week of the year!

This year truly, as St. Peter reminds us about the wonder of our redemption, we have through Baptism: ……. been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His footsteps……..He himself bore our sins in His body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. [1Pt.2: 21 & 24]

Dearest, let us walk with faith into Holy Week, in which Jesus suffers, dies and rises. The people and families that won’t be able to take part in the liturgical celebration are invited to recollect themselves in prayer at home, helped also by the technological means. Let us embrace the sick spiritually, their families and all those that care for them with such abnegation; let us pray for the dead in the light of paschal faith. Each one is present in our heart, in our remembrance and in our prayer. From Mary, we learn interior silence, the gaze of the heart, loving faith to follow Jesus on the way of the Cross, which leads to the glory of the Resurrection. She walks with us and sustains our hope. [1]

Pilgriming through this new normal Pope Emeritus Benedict reminds us about Palm Sunday in the early Church, applicable still today: Just as the Lord entered the Holy City that day on a donkey, so too the Church saw Him coming again and again in the humble form of bread and wine…….As pilgrims, we go up to Him; as a pilgrim He comes to us and takes us up with Him in His “ascent” to the Cross and Resurrection, to the definitive Jerusalem that is already growing in the midst of this world in the communion that unites us with His body. [2]


[2] JESUS of Nazareth; HOLY WEEK: from the entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection; Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI; pp. 10, 11; Ignatius Press, 2011

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph

Saturday, April 04, 2020



It does seem Holy Lent, in some ways, has passed very quickly this year. Perhaps because the new normal, in particular with parish churches closed, has disrupted things externally. Nothing, of course, can disrupt the actuality of the Lenten season of grace.

While I took time from writing, to focus on prayer for the human family and my own mental health, and for this I am grateful to the Holy Spirit and Our Lady, the stress eased.

In my earlier years I could spent extensive periods of time in a hermitage deep in the bush. Now however given I am in mid-seventies; under obedience I am an urban hermit. I do understand the paradox of being a hermit in a city. Prior to this new normal only leaving the hermitage for the necessary such as daily walks, or taking the bus, for groceries, medical appointments. Then I was among people, walking, traveling. Often someone needed to be listened to. No need then to deliberately keep, it is after all an act of charity, distance from anyone.

So, once by the grace of God I faced this new normal – the isolation, the keeping charitable distance when out walking, family can only visit via phone or internet, the stress is what it is. All is grace. My family, bless them, protect me given I am by age in the most vulnerable group. When they go for their groceries, if I need any, they get mine.

This isolation it is an aspect of the cross – no one has ever been as isolated as Jesus on the Cross – to be embraced as prayer for an end to the very existence of this silent mass-murderer, the virus, and pray for the millions of our brothers and sisters likewise stressed.

While taking the break I continued to pray for, to follow, Pope Francis. His words for us during this time are of hope and encouragement. [1]

This evening I have the chance to enter your homes in a different way than usual. If you allow me, I would like to have a conversation with you for a few moments, in this time of difficulty and of suffering. I can imagine you in your families, living an unusual life to avoid contagion. I am thinking of the liveliness of children and young people, who cannot go out, attend school, live their lives. I have in my heart all the families, especially those who have a loved one who is sick or who have unfortunately experienced mourning due to the coronavirus or other causes. These days I often think about people who are alone, and for whom it is more difficult to face these moments. Above all, I think of the elderly, who are very dear to me. [2]

Pope Francis also in the past week has encouraged us to turn to St. Mother Teresa – who often like many saints said: I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. – and St. John Paul II: I am happy to be with you this morning at the Martyrs’ Shrine in Huronia. My pastoral visit to Canada would be incomplete without meeting the sick and elderly who are so close to my heart. When I think of you, I am reminded of the words, of the Lord spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "You are precious in my eyes, because you are honoured and I love you" (Is. 43, 4). Indeed you are precious in the eyes of the Lord and in the eyes of the Pope. You hold a place of honour in the Church for, in a particular way, you share in the mystery of the Cross of Christ, the Cross which in faith we know to be the Tree of Everlasting Life. Suffering and sickness, and death itself, are part of the mystery of life. But while they remain a mystery, they need not be without meaning. In Christ and through his Passion and Resurrection, all creation has been redeemed, including all human experience. In fact, in his Passion Christ used suffering and death to express in the fullest way his obedient love for the Father. And now, in union with Christ our sufferings can become an act of love for the Father, a loving act of surrender to the providence of God. [3]

This evening with the Divine Office of Vespers we cross the threshold into Holy Week.

Leiva-Merikakis reminds us, through His death, passion and Holy Resurrection: …Jesus does not merely gather up in Himself all strands of human and divine authority and power. Even as He does so, He also gathers up in Himself all levels of human misery and suffering, so that the plight of man and all his anguish now come to reside in the Heart of Jesus, which is to say, the Heart of God. [4]

Jesus Himself is our hope and we our His beloved:  Seeing that we have a great high Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, to receive mercy and to find grace for help in time of need. [Heb. 4: 14-16]




[4] FIRE OF MERCY HEART OF THE WORLD, Vol. III, p. 354; Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis; Ignatius Press 2012

© 2020 Fr. Arthur Joseph