Insights from Fr. Jacques Philippe on Life Lessons from the Pandemic

In the Month of September, the Word Among us features three articles from Fr. Jacques Philippe on Lessons from the Pandemic. Fr. Jacques Philippe has written many books on prayer and spirituality. These books have been translated into 24 languages and have sold over one million copies.

I found some of his insights in the third article he wrote for the issue to really resonate with me. This article is called Wisdom of a Silent Saint: What St. Joseph can teach us today. Unfortunately the full article is only available with a subscription or paper copy of the issue. I will share just one long excerpt, see below picture:

Wisdom of a Silent Saint: What St. Joseph Can Teach Us Today by Fr. Jacques Philippe

"Imitating Joseph’s Virtues. The pandemic and all the other crises and conflicts we have been experiencing can easily lead us to fall prey to anxiety, rebellion, bitterness, accusation, or isolation. We can also begin searching anxiously for false security in legalism, rigidity, or closed mindedness. For these reasons and more, we truly need to imitate the virtues that St. Joseph displayed. If we follow [St. Joseph's] example, we will not be destabilized by what is happening around us. Instead, we’ll find constructive responses—responses of love—to the challenges we face."  (More examples in actual article).

& a slightly later excerpt:

"Today we can see how loud noise and excessive words can have devastating effects. It is very detrimental to our life of prayer. Moreover, speech that is uncontrolled or lacks discretion does terrible harm. We have the feeling today that the more we talk about a problem, the more we will be able to solve it, whereas sometimes the opposite happens.

Of course, words are useful and necessary, and sometimes there are guilty silences, such as when sinful realities are hidden that should be brought to light. But we have to be careful not to speak too much or too quickly. Sometimes our words express only our worries, fears, and resentments, and we can end up making the situation more burdensome and complicated than it needs to be.

We first have to welcome the situation in silence, let it mature in our hearts and in our prayer, and accept what seems incomprehensible. As we renounce trying to understand and control everything, we can wait with patience until God shows us how we should exercise our responsibility in the face of the situation.

The Gospels show us that Joseph faced many incomprehensible situations. But through his attitude of acceptance, silence, faith, and prayer, he ended up understanding and doing what God asked of him in each situation. In this way, he was able to protect the beauty of God’s hidden plan and put himself entirely at its service."


May these insights help us to remain strong, by keeping vigilance over our mind and hearts.

May God richly bless you!

-Fr. Jeremy


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