Reflection on 3rd in Lent: 7th March 2021

Temple: a Consecrated Space

Today’s first and third readings speak about rules, sacred buildings and rituals which ‘are meant to bring us into the awareness of the divine presence in us and in all of those around us.’1  ‘The gospel isn’t about what is present in the temple but is about Jesus’ deep concern with what is missing.’2 ‘The gospel tells us what the temple had become: totally aligned with the king, the collecting of taxes and monies and the selling of forgiveness. Jesus takes a revolutionary approach to religion: from an emphasis on sacrifice by which we earn God’s love, to trust through which we know God’s love. And that trust happens in the human heart. Jesus is redefining ‘the temple’. He speaks of the temple of his body.  The temple is transferred from any kind of physical building to the human person. Years later, Jesus’ words will echo in Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. “Do you not know,” the apostle will ask them—and us—“that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”3

‘The temple was the centre of Jewish life.  It is what structured their community. It gave identity and meaning. We all have temples: things that we think give structure and order to our lives, provide security and stability. At least we think they do, until they fall.’2  We will only find new strength in our growing awareness of our divine identity, in our growing awareness that God is within us, that we are temples of God.

In a building that is not a building but the dusty halls of my spirit,
in a heart that is not just a heart but an intended-to-be-holy temple,
there are sheep and there are cattle that are not sheep and cattle
but the worries and concerns and the sorrows of life,
and there are dulled coins and doves that are not coins and doves
but the tarnished hopes and dreams of an aging mind,

and they clutter and crowd the courtyard,
cloud the air with their smells and voices,
their noises of stress and hunger overpowering the words of prayer.
Lord, come into the spaces of this yearning-to-be-holy temple,
cleanse this heart of distractions, help me clear the clutter, the noises.
Make it more of a place of listening, open to the mystery of your presence.4

Adapted: [1] Brian McLaren   [2] Michael Marsh  [3] Richard Rohr  [4] Andrew King

Gospel: John (2:13-25)

The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The Jews then said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover festival, many believed in his name because they saw the signs that he was doing. But Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to testify about anyone; for he himself knew what was in everyone.

Reflection on 2nd in Lent: 28th February

Listen to Him

‘The transfiguration of Jesus must have been a glorious experience for Peter, James and John. They wanted to stay there, as we all do when we have a peak experience. But they had to descend into the valley, to live their lives, to follow Jesus. It doesn’t seem that we grow in depth if we only have peak experiences, if we stay on the mountain top. Things have trouble growing on mountaintops. Beyond the tree line almost nothing will grow because it is too cold and there is a lack of moisture. Living things grow best in the valley: they can develop roots; they are grounded. While they may lack the excitement of mountain peaks, valleys tend to be growing places. But it is in the valley that we really acquire depth, rootedness, strength and flexibility. That is where we are called to mature emotionally and spiritually. Of course, we need both; we can’t always live in the valley.’1

‘Often our reading of today’s gospel focuses on what is seen but do we sometimes emphasise the light of transfiguration to the exclusion of the voice of transfiguration? We are looking but are we listening? A voice came from the cloud and said, “This is my Son, my Beloved; listen to him!” ‘Listen’ is the only thing the disciples are told throughout this whole event. Listening is central to transformation. Yet Mark records no words or teaching from Jesus on the mountaintop. Jesus is silent. So it must be about more than words, instructions, and lessons. True listening is an interior quality, a way of being. It is more about the heart than the ears. And it is more about silence than words. Ultimately, listening is about presence.’2

‘We need to find our venue of transformation. For some it might be art, for others it might be poetry or silence or being vulnerable in the presence of that person in whose presence we’re taken to the deeper place. Each one of us needs to find our own place that grants entrance into the deeper place and then be faithful to that.’3 ‘Today we are being invited to find that place, to be present, to be open, to be receptive to the one who is always present to us, whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley or covered by the cloud of unknowing.’2

Adapted :[1] Queen of Apostles Community [2] Michael Marsh [3] James Finley

Gospel: Mark 9:2-10

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He did not know what to say, for they were terrified.

Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus. As they were coming down the mountain, he ordered them to tell no one about what they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what this rising from the dead could mean.

Reflection on 1st in Lent: 21st February 2021

Be open to transformation

‘The last sentences of today’s gospel are considered by many as the summary of Jesus’ teaching. “The kingdom of God is at hand.” i.e. now. We don’t die into it; we awaken into it. The Kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness. It is a whole new way of seeing, which happens when we ‘repent’ which means to change our mind or turn around. Whatever course we are on we may have to do a 180° turn. And this will entail spending time in the wilderness. “The spirit drove Jesus into the desert.” We seldom freely choose our times of change, transformation or conversion. We are usually driven towards them. Circumstances change, fall apart and undo ‘business as usual’. It’s usually only then that we change. We don’t change until we have to.’1

Today’s gospel encourages us to allow that transformation within us. ‘So many of our external securities are being dismantled as we go through the traumatic experiences of Covid. We all rely on the constancy of the structures of society so when the structures suddenly break open, we start to break open. That’s what trauma is: we can tolerate anything as long as the centre holds, but it’s very scary when the centre starts to go. Lent is a time to reground ourselves, a time to deepen our awareness that our centre is God in whom we live, and move, and have our being, and in these moments of realisation we see that fear has no foundations.’2

All over the world images of the rainbow have reminded us that there is hope and light to follow these days of chaos. Today’s first reading tells us that this good news is grounded in God’s covenant of love with all people and all creation. ‘This infinite love of God is our origin’2 On Ash Wednesday we are reminded that “the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground” (Gen 2:7) This is not meant to be a ‘doom and gloom’ reminder, but a moment of awe and wonder, knowing what God can do with dust.

‘So let us be marked not for sorrow. And let us be marked not for shame.
Let us be marked not for false humility or for thinking we are less than we are,
but for claiming what God can do within the dust, within the dirt,
within the stuff of which the world is made.’3

“Be open to transformation and trust the good news.”

Adapted: [1] Richard Rohr [2] James Finley [3] Jan Richardson: Blessing the Dust

1st Reading: Genesis 9:8-15

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, “As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.

Gospel: Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit immediately drove Jesus out into the desert. He was in the desert forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Reflection on Ash Wednesday: 17th February 2021

We begin Lent by blessing and being blessed by the ashes of the palms used in last year’s Palm Sunday celebration. Do we see this as a ‘doom and gloom’ experience, or do we come filled with hope, knowing what God can do with dust?

Blessing the Dust

All those days
you felt like dust,
like dirt,
as if all you had to do
was turn your face
toward the wind
and be scattered
to the four corners

or swept away
by the smallest breath
as insubstantial—

Did you not know
what the Holy One
can do with dust?

This is the day
we freely say
we are scorched.

This is the hour
we are marked
by what has made it
through the burning.

This is the moment
we ask for the blessing

that lives within
the ancient ashes,
that makes its home
inside the soil of
this sacred earth.

So let us be marked
not for sorrow.
And let us be marked
not for shame.
Let us be marked
not for false humility
or for thinking
we are less
than we are

but for claiming
what God can do
within the dust,
within the dirt,
within the stuff
of which the world
is made,
and the stars that blaze
in our bones,
and the galaxies that spiral
inside the smudge we bear.

Jan Richardson

Reflection on 6th Sunday: 14th February 2021

Embracing the Leper

‘Both Jesus and the leper defy the rules – the leper was not to approach; Jesus was not to touch or even speak to the leper who was condemned to a life of isolation and treated as a non-person. When the leper spoke to Jesus it was from a faith that asked for recognition. Jesus knew he would be excluded the moment he touched the leper because it was forbidden by law and so he was sending a clear message that the law needed breaking. It is significant that Jesus heals the leper by touching him.’1 “Touch, and the world of touch, bring us out of the anonymity of distance into the intimacy of belonging…touch brings presence home.”2 ‘Leprosy is a symbol of the aspects of our lives that we fear, all that we deny, all that we wish to exclude from our lives. In touching the leper Jesus is symbolically telling us that God wishes to reach us in our weakness and restore us to fullness of life. What are the issues in our lives that are “untouchable”, that need to be embraced, released and healed?’1 ‘In defiance of popular thinking, both therapy and spirituality encourage us to embrace our shadow self, to reclaim what we have denied, feared and rejected, to befriend our mistakes and failures. In doing so we leave space for Mystery, for the healing alchemy of God – who is within us.’3

Adapted: [1] Ennis Blue; [2] John O’Donohue; [3] Richard Rohr

Blessing Prayer for Healing

May you desire to be healed.
May what is wounded in your life be restored to good health.
May you be receptive to the ways in which healing needs to happen.
May you take good care of yourself.
May you extend compassion to all that hurts within your body, mind, and spirit.
May you be patient with the time it takes to heal.
May you be aware of the wonders of your body, mind, and spirit and their ability in returning you to good health.
May you be open to receive from those who extend kindness, care, and compassion to you.
May you rest peacefully under the sheltering wings of divine love, trusting in this gracious presence.
May you find little moments of beauty and joy to sustain you.
May you keep hope in your heart.

Joyce Rupp

Gospel: Mark 1:40-45

A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean.
After sternly warning him he sent him away at once, saying to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” But he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the word, so that Jesus could no longer go into a town openly, but stayed out in the country; and people came to him from every quarter.

Reflection on 5th Sunday: 7th February 2021


‘Jesus focused on healing and transformation of persons and systems. There was no pre-requisite for this healing, no belonging to a specific group, no adherence to a specific lifestyle. The only requirement for healing was desire. So, there first must be the wanting and that’s symbolised by Mary’s “Let it be.” We always have to state our “Let it be,” or I don’t think it happens.’1 ‘When the recognised need of the individual coincides with the incoming force of the blessing, great change can begin.’2

This week we again see Jesus healing those who were sick or possessed with demons, in the grip of a destructive spirit. ‘Such a healing—the blessing that comes when facing the chaos rather than turning away from it, the blessing that comes in naming what is contrary to God’s purposes rather than letting it persist unchecked—makes way for the wholeness we crave. It brings release to what has been bound; it invites and enables and calls us to move with the freedom for which God made us.

This kind of change and reconfiguration means that healing is not always a comfortable and cozy thing. Sometimes the healing most needed is one that involves confrontation and calling out, that requires standing against what is not of God. Such a blessing may be difficult to receive. It calls us to acknowledge and challenge and grapple with forces that thrive within chaos, forces that often work in ways that are exceedingly subtle and cloaked, disguising evil as good. This requires even more wisdom and discernment of us than when such forces take clear and obvious forms.’3

“The human heart continues to dream of a state of wholeness, a place where everything comes together, where loss will be made good, where blindness will transform into vision, where damage will be made whole, where the travails of a life’s journey will enjoy a homecoming. To invoke a blessing is to call some of that wholeness upon a person now.”2

‘Let there be an opening into the quiet that lies beneath the chaos, where you find the peace you did not think possible and see what shimmers within the storm.’3

Adapted: [1] Richard Rohr; [2] John O’ Donohue; [3] Jan Richardson

Gospel: Mark 1:29-39

Jesus and his friends left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told him about her at once. He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up. Then the fever left her, and she began to serve them.

That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons. And the whole city was gathered around the door. And he cured many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.

In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. And Simon and his companions hunted for him. When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you.” He answered, “Let us go on to the neighbouring towns, so that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.” And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

Reflection on 4th Sunday: 31st January 2021

Inner Authority

‘There are two great strains in spiritual teaching: the priestly strain which respectfully holds the system together, and the prophetic strain which critiques the system, correcting and refining it from within. Moses both gathers Israel yet is the most critical of his own people. Jesus loves his people but is lethally critical of illusion, hypocrisy and deceit. In today’s gospel we have an account of the first exorcism, or recognising of a demon, and it takes place in the synagogue! The only way evil can succeed is that it has to disguise itself as good and one of the best disguises is the ostensible practice of religion. This is what prophets point out.’

Richard Rohr

‘Within the wider Near East (including Judaism itself), there was also a third, albeit unofficial strain of religious authority: a moshel moshelim, or teacher of wisdom, one who taught the ancient traditions of the transformation of the human being. The hallmark of these wisdom teachers was their use of pithy sayings, puzzles, and parables rather than prophetic pronouncements or divine decree. They spoke to people in the language that people spoke, the language of story rather than law. They stayed close to the ground of wisdom: the transformation of human consciousness. They asked those timeless and deeply personal questions: How do you go about losing your little life to find the bigger one? Is it possible to live on this planet with a generosity, abundance, fearlessness, and beauty that mirror Divine Being itself? These are the wisdom questions, and they are the entire field of Jesus’ concern.’

Cynthia Bourgeault

‘Jesus taught that the real authority that changes the world is an inner authority which comes from people who have lost, let go, and are refound on a new level. Unless we have walked through suffering, failure or humiliation, our words will tend to be fine but superficial, okay but harmless, heard by the ears but unable to touch the soul. Information from outer authority is not necessarily transformation, and we need genuinely transformed people today, not just people with answers. When the people in the temple listened to the ‘new teaching’ of Jesus, they recognised his inner authority. And they were amazed i.e. filled with wonder.’


Gospel: Mark 1:21-28

Jesus and his disciples went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught. They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.” But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!” And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.

They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching-with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.” At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

Reflection on 3rd Sunday: 24th January 2021

“Follow me”

Jan Richardson offers the following reflection on today’s readings. ‘I marvel at how quickly they leave their nets, these fisherfolk who meet Jesus as they labour by the Sea of Galilee. What do Simon and Andrew hear in Jesus’ voice as he calls; what do James and John see as Christ beckons them to cast aside all they have known? Perhaps, listening to Jesus, they remember the story of Jonah. Perhaps they think of the first time God called that reluctant prophet, and what happens when we run in the opposite direction of God’s call: how we are likely to wind up in a place that is dark and dank and lonely. A place that presses clarity upon us and inspires us to respond differently—as Jonah does—when the invitation comes again. Perhaps, encountering this man who immediately compels them, Simon and Andrew and James and John already know in their bones what Paul will later write about in his first letter to the Corinthians: how following Christ will mean letting go of what they have relied upon, will mean living without what they have become attached to. In the days, weeks, years to come, these four—and the eight soon to join them—will live into that initial burst of letting go. They will learn, and learn again, what it takes to follow Christ: how they will have to continually practice the art of leaving. And in their leaving, in their letting go, they will find their sustenance and their true home.

The Jewish tradition took great pains to make clear that Yahweh doesn’t require sacrifice. “I want your constant love, not your animal sacrifices. I would rather have my people know me than burn offerings to me” (Hosea 6:6) and this loving relationship entails that we “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly before our God.” (Micah 6: 8) I wonder if the people of Israel ever wondered if sacrifice might be easier than all this justice and kindness stuff. It can feel consuming, being in relationship with God: it requires so much more of our very selves than simply offering a sacrifice that’s detached from us. And for all that it asks of us, following Jesus doesn’t offer much in the way of earthly security, as Mark reminds us in today’s gospel which begins with a mention of the arrest of John the Baptist. It’s challenging at times to reconcile the seeming paradox that giving ourselves to a God of love and mercy does not always protect us from heartache and suffering; in fact, it sometimes does just the opposite. Called to engage in the world, we find ourselves drawn more deeply into the pain and despair present there—along with (thank God) the delight.’
‘Whatever the circumstances of our lives, they are the circumstances in which Jesus comes to us, the context in which we hear the call to new life, and the place where we are changed and the ordinary becomes the extraordinary. “Follow me” is Jesus’ invitation to a new life. It is the call to change and grow.’

Michael Marsh

Gospel: Mark 1:14-20

After John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” As Jesus passed along the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the sea-for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

As he went a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John, who were in their boat mending the nets. Immediately he called them; and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men, and followed him.

Reflection on 2nd Sunday of the year: 17th January 2020

“Come and see.”

“What are you looking for?” ‘How we answer Jesus’ question determines how we live, how we navigate the tragedies and pain of life, and how we relate to God and our neighbour. We answer it every minute of every day by our choices, the decisions we make, the priorities we establish and the relationships we create.’1 Underlying each personal response, there is a common search for our true home, ‘that place where we discover who we are, where we are coming from and where we are going to. It is where we learn to love and be loved.’2 Jesus tells us where to find our true home. ‘Make your home in Me as I make mine in you.’ (John 15:4) Like the apostles, we may ask, “Where do you live?” and with a sense of anticipation and awe we may respond to Jesus’ invitation, “Come and see.”

‘How many times have we heard a child say: “Come and see …..” There is excitement and joy in their voice, maybe even a sense of urgency. Their words are an invitation to share in their discovery, to experience their world, and to participate in their life. It is an invitation to let our life and theirs come together as one. That’s why we can’t just sit back and say, “No, just tell me about it.” That’s not an acceptable answer. Children know that information and relationship are not interchangeable. We never outgrow the desire to invite and to be invited, to share our life with another in a deep and meaningful way, and to participate in something larger than ourselves. Would we rather read a travel brochure or travel to a new land? Would we rather know about Christ or know him?’1

‘The only way we can get to know another person is by immediate presence. You have to be around them to pick up their real energy; to experience how they live and how they love.’3 ‘Our relationship with Christ, with one another, and with ourselves must be a first-hand experience. A first-hand experience won’t let us stay where we are. It moves us to a new place. It transforms us in a way that information and facts about Jesus never will.’1

[1]Michael Marsh [2] Sister Stan [3] Richard Rohr

Gospel: John 1:35-42

The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

Reflection on the Baptism of Jesus: 10th June 2021

Identity and Mission

The Baptism of Jesus is the third of three great manifestations or revelations of God-with-us which characterise the liturgical Christmas season: the Birth of Jesus, made known to the shepherds, representing the poor and the marginalised; the Epiphany, which reveals that Jesus was born not only for his own people but for people of every country and every race everywhere;1 and the Baptism of Jesus which is ‘the great epiphany of the Trinity on the day when Jesus is brought into the limelight of history to begin his public ministry.’2 ‘Jesus’ identity is being affirmed as he is being ‘missioned’ by his Father for the work he is just about to begin. The baptism of Jesus reminds us of our identity. It reminds us of who we are and whose we are. “You are my Beloved”. It is because Jesus knows who he is that he does as he does. Like Jesus, all that we undertake must flow from who we are – God’s beloved.3

‘It is the experience of who we are in God that enables us to carry out our mission in life even in those times when it is difficult to experience love because of experiences of failure, humiliation, suffering and difficulties in relationships. It is true that we not only are the Beloved, but also have to become the Beloved. If that is true, how then can we get a grip on this process of becoming? If the spiritual life is not simply a way of being, but also a way of becoming, what then is the nature of this becoming? Could it be that:

  • our growing awareness of being the beloved will gradually lead us to stop identifying ourselves with our jobs, our emotions, our life situations? These are not who we really are.
  • finding people and places where we are reminded of our deepest identity will renew our experience of what is already within us?
  • celebrating our beloved-ness with gratitude and wonder for our many daily experiences of love, we will fully live even when life is full of hurt?

When we claim and constantly reclaim the truth of being the beloved, we soon discover within ourselves a deep desire to reveal to others that they are also beloved. At the beginning of a new year, today’s gospel tells us that being the beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence. Our main mission in life is to embrace our belovedness and to become who we are.4

[1] Living space [2] Pope Saint John Paul II [3] Vatican news [4] Henri Nouwen

Gospel: Mark 1:7-11

John the Baptist proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptised you with water; but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”