Suggested Reading:



Learn your Faith through this free series of  video presentations by
Dominican Friars

St. Thomas Institute

St. Thomas Institute



P
ope Saint Pius V

Pope Saint Pius V pray for Holy Mother Church, for Heresies abound

Pray for Holy Mother Church,
for heresies abound


Boston Catholic Journal

Write us:

editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

Boston Catholic Journal

HOME


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason


 

 

The Empty Cistern of Our Pain

Cistern
 

“And he said mildly to them: Come nearer to me. And when they were come near him, he said: I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. Be not afraid, and let it not seem to you a hard case that you sold me into these countries: for God sent me before you into Egypt for your preservation. ... Not by your counsel was I sent hither, but by the will of God.” (Genesis 45.4-5+8)



T
he Patriarch Joseph comes to us as a paradigm of faith, mercy, and justice.

Joseph was loved by Jacob. He was the son of his old age and Jacob doted upon him to the growing resentment and jealousy of his brothers. What is more, Joseph was “a dreamer”, whereas his brothers were ... practical. The world has little use for dreamers, but God is sometimes the giver of dreams.

Predilection – favor by God or parent – is so often the occasion of resentment. We feel somehow “less” and desire the place of favor, honor, notability. Why God’s predilection for Joseph? Why not Levi? Simeon? Asher?

Having been sold into slavery by his brothers — and only after Ruben and Judah had pleaded for his life as his brothers threw Joseph into a dry cistern in the desert to die — Joseph had reason, just cause, to seek revenge, to redress the injustice done him. Egypt was ever in need of slaves, and under the good auspices of Pharaoh, Joseph was in charge of Egypt ...

Gaunt, scourged by famine and burned by the fierce Egyptian sun, the brothers came (unknowingly) to Joseph seeking the kindness from an apparent stranger that they had failed to accord their own brother. Most readers can identify with Joseph in one way or another, for we have all known injustice, cruelty, indifference. We await the denouement that will slake our thirst for revenge, and savor the irony. “Joseph will teach them a lesson they will never forget!”

And Joseph does.

He falls upon their shoulders in tears ... and forgives them.

Why?

Joseph was more merciful than just, and bitterness had never taken hold of his heart. What is more, Joseph’s mercy was equaled, even exceeded, by his wisdom, for he tells his astonished brothers what each of us should tell ourselves in times of adversity ... even extremity:

“Not by your counsel was you sent hither, but by the will of God.”

Where you are now ... that pit of despondency, that crucible of pain is not of your choosing, and if, by another, you find yourself there, do not be deceived. You did not choose it. Another did not force it upon you (although by all appearances – much like dry cisterns — it would appear to be). You are where you are for a purpose beyond your immediate understanding. It seems impossible to redeem, and no good can come of it for all that you can see – and what of those who threw you into the cistern, who left you to die, who turned away indifferent to your pain, your fate? Do you think that God will not use your suffering, and even their malice, to an end unspeakably good and known to Him alone?

In your pain do not imprecate, curse, those who have brought it to you. Joseph had every reason to, but did not. Joseph lived to see this act of faith fulfilled. He was restored to his beloved father, Jacob, and reconciled with his brothers.

Another died in an act of fulfillment ... and like Joseph who prefigured Him, he, too, replied to the presumption and the hubris of his tormentor who foolishly thought himself the final arbiter pursuing his own selfish ends:

Non haberes potestatem adversum me ullam, nisi tibi datum esset desuper.” “You have no power over Me, except it were given you from above.” (St. John 19.11)

Understand this. There is redemption in your suffering  —  but it will not be on your terms. A far greater good lies before you than the paltry immediacy of the lesser good that you would choose.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

   Printable PDF Version

 


 

Boston Catholic Journal

Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome

Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

 

Copyright © 2004 - 2024 Boston Catholic Journal. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise stated, permission is granted by the Boston Catholic Journal for the copying and distribution of the articles and audio files under the following conditions:  No additions, deletions, or changes are to be made to the text or audio files in any way, and the copies may not be sold for a profit. In the reproduction, in any format of any image, graphic, text, or audio file, attribution must be given to the Boston Catholic Journal.


 

The Face

The Face and the Culmination of Vatican II

and the
Culmination
of Vatican II



Search the Boston Catholic Journal



Basic Catholic
Audio

Free Catholic Audio Library
in Latin & English


Audio Books,
devotions, and
prayers
:
L
isten to them
or download them

completely free





You Cannot Build Down

Archbishop Fulton Sheen - The Fourth Great Crisis in the Church - The End of Christendom
The Destruction
of everything in the Past

Archbishop Fulton Sheen



Baltimore

Catechism

online

Baltimore Catechism - the most authoritative Catholic Catechism ever printed

Discover what
the Church

has taught for

2000 Years
before Vatican II

Newly Formatted
with hyperlinks
for improved readability

Read online
or

Download the PDF



The Little Office

The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary
of the
Blessed Virgin Mary



Pope Pius V Catechism of Trent

Catechism of the Council of Trent New Edition

New Edition (free)



A Primer for

A Primer for Catholic Symbolism

Catholic Symbolism


Listen to
this Catholic Spiritual Classic:

The Practice of the Presence of God - an audio Presentation

The Practice
of the
Presence
of God

Complete Audio Files



Novena to
St Jude

 Novena to St Jude Printable 4-fold with one piece of paper

Printable Booklet
on 1 sheet
of paper, 4-fold, free




With Mary in the Rose Garden

With Mary Immaculate, Mother of God in the Rose Garden
Reflections on the Rosary
with a Poor Clare Nun and
Saint Padre Pio



Pope Saint Pius X
Pray for us

Pope Saint Pius X pray for us

“I shall spare myself neither
care nor labor nor vigils for
the salvation of souls”

Home