“It isn’t fair!”

“I never said life was fair.”

This exchange took place between my father and me many times as I grew up. It always struck me as odd that my dad—a lawyer who worked incredible hours in the U.S. justice system—truly believed that life was not fair. But he did.

My dad was a plaintiff’s attorney, so he represented the companies in the thousands of workers’ disability compensation cases he tried. His awareness of the lack of fairness in the world reflected the reality that he saw day in and day out in our neighborhood, our city, and our country.

Over the course of two summers between years in high school, I worked as his legal secretary. One day, after creating all the files for the new claims that had come in with that morning’s mail, I asked my dad how many of the cases that were filed actually deserved to be litigated. He took me into his office and pointed to stacks of file folders, many of which had only a few sheets of paper in them. He told me to pick out the biggest file in the room. It was easy to do because it was about six inches thick and I had just added some new correspondence to it that morning. He told me the story of Daniel, the man chronicled in that file.

I learned two things that day. First, I learned to dislike immensely the “ambulance chasers.” Today, we see their names emblazoned on our TV screens, boasting of their successes in “defending the little guy” and winning big settlements.

The second is this: never lose your compassion for those who need it and never stop fighting for what is fair for them.

From the Passion of Our Lord to the polarization of today’s world, it’s clear that life is not fair or easy. This week’s CatholicsRead titles force us to pause and wrestle a bit with this truth and see where we can bring light and life into the world, especially as we approach Holy Week.

This juxtaposition is no better seen than in the Passion and Death of Jesus. The Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross from Magnificat is a prayerful meditation on Christ’s final sacrificial agony using Scripture, insightful meditations by Cardinal Charles Journet, sublime music by Haydn, and artistic masterpieces. This resource will carry you to the foot of the Cross to experience anew Christ’s final message.

Living with Christ Holy Week 2023 from Living with Christ leads us through the complete text for all Holy Week liturgies (American Lectionary), the Order of Mass, explanations of significant rituals and customs of the Sacred Triduum, and powerful meditations on the Scriptures.

New City Press’ The Church’s Mission in a Polarized World by Aaron Wessman presents a way out of the divisiveness and vitriol of our times. This book stimulates courage and hope, helping us to see more clearly the age in which we live and to respond gracefully to God’s call to build unity and peace.

In Quiet Dangers from Paulist Press, author Robert J. Wicks draws upon well-known contemporary voices to illuminate the journey toward a deeper relationship with the truth about ourselves, others, and God.

In our journeys, we search for healing. Desert Spirituality for Men by Brad Karelius from Desert Spirit Press reveals the transformative and healing power of the desert for men who actively seek God. Blending a memoir of his son’s fight for life, reflections on his own desert retreats, and his response to the Lord’s persistent desire for relationship, the author offers guidance to men in their holy longing for God.

Sometimes we need to step back from what life presents us. Joseph J. Juknialis’s Fifteen-Minute Retreats to Slow Down Your World from GIA Publications contains 30 scripture-based reflections that require just 15 minutes, but whose effects are timeless.


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Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.

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