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Getting to Know Joel View Comments
By Theresa Doyle-Nelson

ARE YOU GOING THROUGH a tough time? Does your heart need some joyful renewal? Would a touch of hope help your spirits? Or are you a struggling farmer or feeling careworn in the food industry?

If so, the Old Testament prophet Joel might be a good person to get to know. Because we hear him only a few times at Mass, many Catholics probably feel a weak connection to him. Even so, this “minor prophet” is worth knowing.

The son of Pethuel, Joel probably lived in Jerusalem about 400 years before the birth of Christ. His prophetic book is only four chapters long, but it shows that he was a prophet for the Lord, passionate for the good of the people of Judah. Joel used highly dramatic, metaphorical writing. For example:

His teeth are the teeth of a lion . . . (1:6b).

Their appearance is that of horses; like steeds they run (2:4).

The sun will be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood (3:4a).

The mountains shall drip new wine (4:18a).

Although Joel’s writings may be unfamiliar, they continue to offer valuable spiritual insights.

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Theresa Doyle-Nelson is a former elementary teacher with a master’s degree in educational administration. Married for 27 years, she and her husband have three adult sons. She can be contacted through TheresaDoyle-Nelson.com.

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Hilary of Arles: It’s been said that youth is wasted on the young. In some ways, that was true for today’s saint. 
<p>Born in France in the early fifth century, Hilary came from an aristocratic family. In the course of his education he encountered his relative, Honoratus, who encouraged the young man to join him in the monastic life. Hilary did so. He continued to follow in the footsteps of Honoratus as bishop. Hilary was only 29 when he was chosen bishop of Arles. </p><p>The new, youthful bishop undertook the role with confidence. He did manual labor to earn money for the poor. He sold sacred vessels to ransom captives. He became a magnificent orator. He traveled everywhere on foot, always wearing simple clothing. </p><p>That was the bright side. Hilary encountered difficulty in his relationships with other bishops over whom he had some jurisdiction. He unilaterally deposed one bishop. He selected another bishop to replace one who was very ill–but, to complicate matters, did not die! Pope St. Leo the Great kept Hilary a bishop but stripped him of some of his powers. </p><p>Hilary died at 49. He was a man of talent and piety who, in due time, had learned how to be a bishop.</p> American Catholic Blog True freedom lies in the ability to align one’s actions freely with the truth, so as to achieve authentic human happiness both now and in the life to come. Jesus promised, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:31–32).

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