Brother Joseph

On Sunday November 1 during community Chapter, Brother Joseph Paez pronounced his Simple Vows and received the black scapular and the leather belt from Dom Vincent. Born and raised in Argentina, Joseph is a biochemist who researched cancer treatment protocols before joining us. We rejoice to have him in our midst. And we pray that he will continue to allow the Lord Jesus to transform his heart.

How does the Spirit bring about our inner transformation? It must have to do with at least three factors: our free choices; the mystery of suffering; and the revelation of the Holy Trinity.

After asking Peter and the apostles what people thought about him, Our Lord turned the question to them: “But who do you say that I am?” Peter, inspired by the Spirit, said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” He spoke from the depths of his conviction, not fully enlightened perhaps, but he took a stand and declared what he really thought. That is all Jesus wanted, and his Spirit could move Peter further down the road of transformation accordingly.

This is a perfect question for us, and the Spirit urges us to answer it: Who do we say that Jesus is? What is our conviction? What is our faith? When Jesus asks the question, he leaves himself vulnerable, knowing we could reject him. But he also knows that it is our dignity to answer freely, and in that answer to be transformed. So he waits patiently like the Bridegroom in the Song of Songs who said, “My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the secret recesses of the cliff, let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and you are lovely.”

Immediately after Peter’s confession of faith comes the next opportunity for transformation. Our Lord predicts that he “must suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests and the scribes.” Peter quickly rejects the idea – God forbid that Peter’s Christ should be Christ crucified! Faced with this divine mystery of suffering, Peter experienced a kind of inner panic. He tried to talk God out of it. We can either hide our face from this mystery of suffering, or with the grace of the Spirit accept this reality about our God and ourselves and be transformed.

Finally, we come to the Mount of Transfiguration. Here the Spirit allows the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God” to shine upon Peter. Peter hears Father proclaim his Son’s belovedness; he sees the Son in the unity of the Spirit radiating the goodness and glory of his Father. And he marvels at the cloud of glory by which the Spirit envelopes the whole. This knowledge of the Trinity impels him forward to another and deeper cycle of transformation.

Excerpts from a reflection by Dom Vincent.