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