Thursday, May 06, 2021



                     Go into the marketplace and stay with me. [1]

This is the second of the three times in the Little Mandate we are asked to go.

Marketplaces, in the narrow meaning of the word, prior to the expansion of modern malls, were places for getting a variety of items needed for family life, foodstuffs in particular.

The deep meaning of the word as used in the Little Mandate is any place outside of ourselves, home, family, parish, hermitage, wherever our brothers and sisters are.

As we go into the marketplace, that is to go outside of yourselves towards, and with Jesus, in others. The second aspect of this mandate line is very simple: stay with Me.

The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the works of His hands. Day unto day pours forth speech; night unto night whispers knowledge. There is no speech, no words; their voice is not heard; A report goes forth through all the earth, their messages, to the ends of the world. [Ps. 19: 2-5]


We human beings seem so preoccupied with always doing something that stillness, just being, appears almost contra-indicated. The great living icon, of presence-stillness, is Jesus Himself in the tabernacle.

We really don’t have to ‘do’ anything in the marketplace other than ‘be’ in the marketplace with Jesus.

Because being necessarily comes before doing we can be presence with Christ even if the duty of the moment, in the macro sense of marketplace, means going for groceries, teaching a class, taking care of someone who is ill, driving a bus, participating in all aspects of family life, in Holy Mass and parish events.

If we understand the essence of being then necessary doing is done with greater selfless love, the doing of little things with exceeding love for Christ directly and Christ in others, which is the direct way of loving and doing for, of being for Christ.

The ‘staying with’ aspect is contemplation: contemplation in action.

There is only one great call, one great call in the Gospel, and it is that of following Jesus on the way of love. This is the summit and it is the centre of everything. In this sense, charity and contemplation are synonymous, they say the same thing. Saint John of the Cross believed that a small act of pure love is more useful to the Church than all the other works combined. What is born of prayer and not from the presumption of our ego, what is purified by humility, even if it is a hidden and silent act of love, is the greatest miracle that a Christian can perform. And this is the path of contemplative prayer: I look at Him and He looks at me. It is that act of love in silent dialogue with Jesus that does so much good for the Church. [2]

To live out this line of the Little Mandate we can draw upon love’s imagination to see and enter deeply the macro and micro dimensions of the marketplace: with lockdowns in many places having churches closed, with the warmer weather, we can stand, or bring a lawn chair and sit, outside the front of the church building, for Jesus is still there in the tabernacle, and be with Him, witnessing by our presence that adoration is a matter of presence, not physical distance, which applies as well if we are housebound and stream one of the exposition web sites. [3] In other words during these day of seemingly unending restrictions impacting the so-called normal of daily life, we can either obsess over the cant’s or use love’s imagination and discover the can-dos. It is within the can-dos that we will find the places in the marketplaces of life to be there with Christ, radiating Him and His love through us upon everyone we see, since the heart is not limited by time, or physical space. We can be with Him wherever the marketplace is, for example wherever on earth presence is needed for love, prayer, light, for through baptism we are living icons of light: You are the light of the world…… your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. [Mt. 5:14-16].

Staying with Jesus in the marketplace is all about love, His love for us, ours for Him and with Him loving everyone.

It is not enough for us to just love one another. Our love must, somehow or other, absolutely must, impenetrate, incarnate itself into the world…….As the sign of love becomes evident in our love for one another, spilling into every nook and corner of our modern world, then we can begin to preach the word with our voices. We can begin to preach the word with our voices, because we have first preached it with our lives. [4]

Being, loving, presence, staying: life with Christ in the marketplace.




[4] LIVING THE GOSPEL WITHOUT COMPROMISE; Catherine Doherty; pp. 24,25; Madonna House Publications, 2002


© 2021 Fr. Arthur Joseph



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