Thursday, 12 December 2013


An evening to remember!  I was left to myself, with no-one making any demands on me. So I switched on my radio as I relaxed in my comfortable armchair. What a delight to stumble upon John Rutter’s ‘Requiem!’   Until then this had been unknown to me.

In my enthusiasm I rushed out -the next day -to buy the CD of the music.   I had to hear it again! I had to share my ‘discovery’ with my brother, Peter, in Grenada, in the W. Indies. He was likewise thrilled with the CD I sent him.   I was delighted that Peter shared my enthusiasm. His enthusiasm, his enjoyment certainly increased mine.

It’s said that a problem shared is a problem halved. Surely ‘a joy shared is a joy doubled.’ That must be equally true! That was certainly true, when I introduced my brother to this beautiful music.

Some years later, when our brother Chris died, the ‘Requiem’ by John Rutter would draw Peter and me especially close.   At the very hour I was celebrating our brother Chris’ Requiem in England Peter, in Grenada, had sought out the peace-filled seclusion of a rocky peninsular reaching out into the Atlantic.   There, sitting in his car, he recited the Breviary Office of the Dead with the CD of Rutter’s ‘Requiem’ comforting him in his solitary sorrow. He was separated by thousands of miles from the rest of the family. That beautiful piece of music, which we both loved, helped to bring us especially close in our shared grief for our deceased brother.  It was a real blessing that I should have accidentally stumbled across that music and then shared it with Peter.

This incident made me think of the excitement of discovering a brilliant young footballer, or, perhaps, singer. Eagerly we want to tell our friends about him or her.  We urge them to come and see for themselves.
That’s precisely what happened in an incident recorded near the beginning of St. John’s Gospel (1. 35-42).  When John the Baptist saw Jesus, he pointed Him out to a couple of his followers. “Behold the Lamb of God,” he exclaimed.  That aroused Andrew’s curiosity.  So he and his companion followed Jesus and asked Him where He lived. When Jesus invited them to ‘come and see’ they went and spent the day with Him.   Andrew then went back and eagerly told his brother, “We have found the Messiah.”  Gripped by Andrew’s enthusiasm Peter went with his brother to see Jesus for himself.   That shared discovery completely changed their lives.

This idea echoes the title and theme of Pope Francis’ recent Apostolic Exhortation entitled, “The Joy of Evangelization.” Jesus is Good News, the very best of news.   Like Andrew, we should be so excited about Jesus and what He has done for us that we can’t help but want to share Him with our nearest and dearest and with all those we encounter in our daily lives!  Like the apostles, we should long for everyone to welcome what means so much to us – our personally discovering Jesus and becoming attached to Him. Like the women who first saw the risen Lord we should feel we must rush and share this Good News.  It’s too exciting, too important for us to keep to ourselves!

 But we all know that our wildest enthusiasms can become jaded;   familiarity can breed complacency.  Interesting, isn’t it, that Pope Francis criticizes those of the clergy who look as if they’ve just come from a funeral?  He even calls them –us- “sourpusses!”  Could it be that we’ve lost our sense of wonder and excitement at the Good News? If so, we won’t be all that eager to listen to it or share it.  Gradually our awareness of Jesus can become like dull background music or drab wall-paper to our lives!

If I’m to meet God I must ask Him to keep alive my love and enthusiasm for the Good News about Jesus Himself and the salvation He has achieved for us through His death and resurrection. What an awful thought that Jesus could be relegated to being no more than a footnote to our lives!  Only with enthusiasm that ‘fires me up’ will I be eager to spread the Gospel and enjoy doing so.

 Having been a member of the Order of Preachers for over sixty years I can vouch for the ‘Joy of Evangelizing’ –powerfully expressed in Pope Francis’ ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ –‘The Joy of Evangelizing.’ It’s a real tonic.  It refreshes our appetite to “taste and see that the Lord is good,” (Ps. 34. 8). I strongly recommend it –especially during Advent when we celebrate the Good News of the coming of Our God!   May this inspire us to enrich other people’s lives with what gives meaning to our lives –God’s greatest gift -Himself.

Isidore O.P.



  1. Wanted to comment as recently have re-discovered a truth about God which I knew intellectually but had failed to feel or believe emotionally.
    Christmas is a special time for children, including grown-up children, who may do or say things which I disapprove of but who are MY children. Just as at their birth I felt like a mother tiger who would fight to defend them so the feeling is still there , strong but different. If God feels about his children the same way as I do about mine, but magnified immeasurably, then I have to believe that it is true that He searches us out and tracks us down so that He can bring us home .So this is something I wanted to share!
    N.B. Over 30 years of friendship I have never known Isidore to be unenthusiastic about spreading the Gospel--he wears me out with his enthusiasm!

  2. Thank you for spreading the word of God. If you have God in your heart you will live a joyful and peaceful life. Any obstacles and trials may we encountered can't greatly affect on our daily lives because we trust God. Furthermore, I read some inspirational blog about what is God and how it affects our life with Him.