20 Mar – Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
St. Joseph is a descendant of the house of David. A layman and a carpenter, he was the earthly spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and foster and adoptive father of Jesus Christ. He was a visionary who was visited by angels, and is noted for his willingness to immediately get up and do what God told him.
Prayer to St. Joseph
Blessed Joseph, husband of Mary, be with us this day.
You protected and cherished the Virgin;
loving the Child Jesus as your Son,
you rescued Him from the danger of death.
Defend the Church, the household of God,
purchased by the blood of Christ.
Guardian of the Holy Family,
be with us in our trials.
May your prayers obtain for us
the strength to flee from error
and wrestle with the powers of corruption
so that in life we may grow in holiness
and in death rejoice in the crown of victory.
- Patron Saint Index
2 Sam 7:4-5,12-14,16
… do not be afraid…
Saint Joseph. Son of Jacob. Husband of Mary. The man who said ‘YES’ to God… YES, I will be the earthly father of YOUR son. YES. YES. YES. What significant, large, life-changing ‘YES’-es St. Joseph committed to without a pause, a thought of or for himself and his personal wants, plans and dreams. Was he not afraid at some point? Afraid or not, his YES to God was always immediate.
Joseph’s consistent ‘YES’ is one that is often overlooked. No words of his are recorded in scripture. He isn’t spoken of by the disciples, or even by Jesus. However, Joseph is a central character in the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel and, in Matthew 13:55, Joseph is referred to in passing. Luke’s Gospel also includes Joseph in a fuller infancy narrative up through Chapter 4:22; John’s Gospel mentions Joseph in only two versus, 1:45 (“…..the son of Joseph.”) and 6:42 (“They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, who father and mother we know?…”.) And Mark’s Gospel doesn’t even mention Joseph at all.
And yet, the importance of Joseph in the life of our Lord and Saviour is beyond measure. In a few short verses, we see the righteous man committed to God that Joseph is. God speaks to Joseph, recorded in scripture through angels in dreams, and Joseph IMMEDIATELY responds to the will of God. Joseph doesn’t divorce Mary. Joseph marries Mary. Joseph takes his family and leaves Bethlehem, returning to their country another way….to Egypt. Joseph takes his family and leaves Egypt to return to Israel. Finally, to Nazareth.
The word ‘IMMEDIATELY’ in scripture has been one that (at least in the last four or five years) jumps out at me. At the voice of God, ‘IMMEDIATE’ reaction is taken by so many. For anyone to always respond immediately, the VOICE must be a known trusted and loved voice. (Yes, fear is another factor in immediate response, but over time we know that even fear leads us to respond more slowly and even out of line. And, more importantly, when God speaks, it isn’t a demand; man always has a choice. When confronted with total fear, man feels that he has no choice.) Free will is always central to the choices of man. We have the free choice to listen or not, the free choice to accept or reject guidance, the free choice to say, “Your Will or my will.”
How often have I emulated Saint Joseph with an IMMEDIATE response to God? Does my lack of immediate response (and sometimes non response) mean that I don’t know God or haven’t honestly committed to loving and trusting God completely? Why would I ever be afraid of any direction from God when I do know that He is my Almighty Father? Why do I delay or ignore direction from God?
In responding immediately to God and the ways of God, in staying obedient in all situations, we leave no room for discussion with, and temptation by, the enemy. It seems to only be when we sit and contemplate, even for three seconds, our will or God’s will that we entertain the enemy and thus begin to fall into conversation with the evil one, who speaks truth intertwined with lies…and our fall (at least in that situation) becomes complete.
An immediate ‘YES’ to God is always the right thing. The best thing. There is never anything or anyone to fear when we follow His will. His direction is always perfect for us and our good. Always. St. Joseph is a beautiful example for all of us. Quiet, immediate ‘YES’-es that resound in the world for all eternity.
So, why am I sometimes afraid to immediately say ‘YES’ to God?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)
Prayer: Father God, I do believe in You, and I believe You. I trust You and trust in You. Yet I don’t always act in that manner. I am so sorry for all the times that I don’t respond to You. I know that I rarely respond immediately and sometimes I completely ignore you, Lord. Why? Why do I act more like Eve, when my heart’s desire is to act like Mary? I want to meditate on St. Joseph and respond to You in the immediate way that he did, over and over and over again — always trusting You and putting Your will ahead of his own plans.
Thanksgiving: Father God, I am so thankful for the Saints that light the path. I am grateful to see and feel their humanity in life and know that they chose to always look and listen to You, and to be obedient to Your direction in the circumstances of their lives. Their example is a gift of Your grace to us all. Amen.
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