Saint Jerome, a 4th-century priest, said:

“Someone may ask, ‘How is justice greater than all the other virtues?’ The other virtues gratify the one who possesses them; justice does not give pleasure to the one possessing it, but instead pleases others.”

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Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God, because he will give you the early rain as a sign of righteousness; he will pour down abundant rain for you, the early and the late rain, as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain; the vats will overflow with new wine and fresh oil. I will repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten— my great army, which I sent against you. You will eat abundantly and be satisfied, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done wonders for you; and my people will never again be put to shame.

Joel 2:23-26

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One of the most common things I hear in my work as a hospital chaplain is these words: “It’s just so unfair.”

And it’s true. When a loved one dies of cancer, when their body fails after a sudden accident, when children and babies don’t leave the hospital – it is just so unfair. Oftentimes people want to blame someone else, blame the doctor, blame the driver, blame God, or even blame themselves. But the reality is that there is suffering in this world that we don’t deserve, no matter how many mistakes we’ve made in the past.

The prophet Joel speaks to a suffering people, channeling the word of God: “I will repay you for the years that the cutting locust, the swarming locust, the hopping locust, and the devouring locust have eaten.” There may be times when we feel like nothing can make up for what we’ve lost – but God’s justice extends beyond the world as we know it. Let God’s kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

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Hold me in your hands, God, when life feels unfair and my heart is breaking. Give me the courage to love this world even when it lets me down, and to trust that you are still good, always, all the time. Amen.

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The present form of the world passes away, and there remains only the joy of having used this world to establish God’s rule here. All pomp, all triumphs, all selfish[ness] ... All of that passes away.

What does not pass away is love.

Saint Oscar Romero, bishop and martyr, from a 1979 homily

Heidi Thorsen Oxford

Heidi Thorsen Oxford is a hospital chaplain, the Outreach Coordinator for Chapel on Green, New Haven, and a candidate for ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Diocese of New York. Things that bring her joy include: her husband, two cats, painting religious icons, and drinking tea.

Piano Sonata No. 14 In C Sharp Minor, Op. 27, No. 2

Garry Bailey

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