19 March – Solemnity of St. Joseph, husband of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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. Amen.
- Patron Saint Index
2 Samuel 7:4-5,12-14,16
The word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: “When your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. (It is he who shall build a house for my name, and I will make his royal throne secure for ever.) I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Yet I will not withdraw my favour from him, as I withdrew it from your predecessor. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’
The promise of inheriting the world was not made to Abraham and his descendants on account of any law but on account of the righteousness which consists in faith. That is why what fulfils the promise depends on faith, so that it may be a free gift and be available to all of Abraham’s descendants, not only those who belong to the Law but also those who belong to the faith of Abraham who is the father of all of us. As scripture says: I have made you the ancestor of many nations – Abraham is our father in the eyes of God, in whom he put his faith, and who brings the dead to life and calls into being what does not exist.
Though it seemed Abraham’s hope could not be fulfilled, he hoped and he believed, and through doing so he did become the father of many nations exactly as he had been promised: Your descendants will be as many as the stars. This is the faith that was ‘considered as justifying him.’
Jacob was the father of Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ.
This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph; being a man of honour and wanting to spare her publicity, decided to divorce her informally. He had made up his mind to do this when the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus.”
St. Joseph is never referred to as the guardian, or the father of Jesus. Being more often known as the husband of Mary, he lived a life of humility and service, supporting God’s plan while working tirelessly outside of the limelight. I empathized with him, as he wrestled with the news of how the birth of Jesus would forever change his life, regardless of his response. He could either have stood by Mary’s side and fulfilled his duties as a husband, or he could have walked away and started afresh.
Sometimes God entrusts us with responsibilities that we may not want to undertake. These duties fill us with fear and anxiety, and make us question our worthiness to live up to grand expectations perpetuated by society, and ourselves. In today’s ‘empowered’ world where the ability to make our own choices is held so dearly, we wrestle with the constant dilemma of choosing to live for God wholeheartedly, to live the life that we tweak and adjust so that it seems like we are living in accordance to God’s will, or to dive completely into the mission that God tasks us with.
But is the choice really one between similar outcomes? I’ve been guilty of making ‘good’ choices, only to feel a deep sense of restlessness that only subsides once I tweak my original plan. I have also made choices after much prayer and reflection, only to still have to face God’s silence, as I work through the consequences of my actions while managing the uncertainty that still lingers for a long time after. Choice, it would seem, is just the beginning of a pact we make with God and ourselves.
Our loving God not only grants us the wisdom to make choices out of our own free will, but he also empowers us to follow-through on those choices in spite of the fog of confusion or doubt that is along that path. It is the beauty of the relentless cycle of choices being presented, discerning and praying before choosing, and leaning on God as we work through the consequences of our actions, that make the Christian life so rigorous, and comforting. The simplicity and difficulty of this cycle, help us to plant deep roots into the rich field of our earthly life so that no storm or tempest could ever sway us beyond our limits.
St. Joseph made his choice all those years ago and his legacy is something that we give thanks for everyday. Fellow journeyers in Christ, how will the choices you make today leave a legacy that would be pleasing to God?
(Today’s OXYGEN by Anonymous)
Prayer: Dear Lord, we ask you to reveal your plan for our life’s vocation, and to give us the courage to do whatever it takes to answer your call.
Thanksgiving: We thank you Father, for the quiet workers in our lives. With gratitude, we praise you for the giants on whose shoulders we stand.