Monday, January 10, 2005

There's Something About St. Joseph

I meant to post this right after the Epiphany but life got in the way. However, no time like the present, right?

No one ever talks much about St. Joseph although I know that there have been periods of widespread devotion to him. St. Teresa of Avila was devoted to St. Joseph and said,
"I never remember having entrusted anything to him which he has failed to do. I am amazed by the great favours God has given me through this blessed Saint, the dangers from which he has freed me, both of body and soul. It seems that Our Lord gives graces to other Saints to give help in some particular need. I know from experience that this glorious Saint helps in every necessity. And Our Lord wants to make us understand that just as he was subject to him on earth -- being his guardian Joseph had the name of father and could command him -- so in heaven he does whatever Joseph asks. Other persons have also seen this from experience -- persons whom I told to entrust themselves to him and, so, many who have devotion to him have experienced this truth once more.

When we think about what life must have been like for the Holy Family immediately following the Epiphany, St. Joseph's strengths and extreme faith come shining through. With no more to go on than a dream, he uproots the little family and takes to the road. He has no idea of how he will support them, what they will encounter on the way or who will pursue them. Still St. Joseph instantly obeys God.
The journey cannot have been a comfortable one; walking for several days along unfriendly roads, with the fear of being caught in their flight, with tiredness and thirst. The Egyptian frontier, beyond which Herod could no longer pursue them, was approximately a week away at the pace at which they could travel, particularly if they followed, as is most likely, the less frequented roads. It was an exhausting journey through desert regions. God the Father did not want to spare those he most loved from this fatigue. Perhaps this is so that we would understand that we can draw great benefit from difficulties. Also, it makes us realise that being close to God does not mean being free from pain or difficulties. God has only promised us the serenity and fortitude to face up to them ...

After their long, difficult journey, Mary and Joseph came with the Child to their new country. At that time there were many Israelites living in Egypt, forming small communities. They were mostly tradespeople. Joseph probably joined one of these communities with his family, prepared to re-make his life again with what little they had brought with them from Bethlehem ... In Egypt, he began as best he could, suffering hardships, at first doing every kind of job, finding a home for Mary and Jesus, and supporting them as always by the work of his hands, with his unceasing hard work.
In Conversation with God: Advent and Christmastide

No wonder great saints like Teresa turned to him. We could certainly do no worse.

No comments:

Post a Comment