Decided to Divorce Her Quietly

Day 9

Yesterday, we considered the news proclaimed in the Annunciation to both Mary and Joseph as an unprecedented event in human history. We came to a deeper appreciation of the heroic faith of Mary and Joseph. However, in this consideration, we skipped over a monumental detail. Namely, after Mary broke the news, but before God sent an angel to speak to Joseph in his dream, there was a serious dilemma to discern.

Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1:19)

At first glance, this phrase from Scripture makes little sense. It seems to contradict itself, in that a just man would choose divorce. If Joseph understood the baby to be from God, then he should naturally conclude that Mary had no shame. But Joseph was living in a different era and culture than today. According to the Mosaic Law, if a woman who was married or betrothed was found guilty of an adulterous affair, she would be taken outside the city gates and stoned to death (Deuteronomy 2:23). Even though he did not fully understand the situation at this point in time, having Mary stoned to death was not a viable option for Joseph. Therefore, he decided to “divorce her quietly,” so that no one would know he was not responsible for this pregnancy. Instead, Joseph accepted that, over time, the town would have noticed that Mary was pregnant and assumed the baby was Joseph’s. Mary would have been safe from stoning, but the people of Nazareth would have assumed that Joseph selfishly and dishonorably left Mary and her child on their own to fend for themselves.

Joseph was willing to take this apparent “shame” of Mary upon his own shoulders. Risking his reputation, Joseph once again pointed to Christ. Jesus became the victim of the greatest injustice in all of humanity. Indeed, it was our shame that he took upon his shoulders when he carried his cross to Calvary. Christ was willing to be ridiculed and convicted of a crime he did not commit so that we may be set free.

Christ taught us that his actions reflected those of the Father (John 5:19). While Jesus was referring to God the Father, it is apparent that his heavenly father chose for his son an earthly father who taught him mercy and sacrifice as well.

Personal Reflection:

Ponder the limitless mercy of God in your own life and, in turn, how merciful you are to others. Once you receive the mercy of God, you are called to be an instrument of that mercy to the world. If you are married, ask St. Joseph to teach you how to be merciful to your bride, just as he was to Mary. St. Joseph was placed in a seemingly impossible situation, and yet he still chose mercy. Why? How? The explanation for Joseph’s courageous and noble actions is humility, which is precisely why we began this book with that virtue. St. Joseph understood that it’s not about himself. He understood that his life was an offering for others, and that you only truly find yourself when you give yourself away. St. Joseph was already living the Christian way of mercy before Christianity even existed. He was a herald to a new Way.

Heavenly Father, shower your mercy upon me, so that I may be a man like St. Joseph and offer my life in sacrifice for others.

St. Joseph – unveil for me the love of the Holy Spirit present in my spouse.  Amen.

 

Unprecedented Event

Day 8

Today is the start Section 3:
The Spouse of Mary

“But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel’ (which means, God with us).

 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus.”
Matthew 1:20-25

 

Day 8

You are at a party, maybe a couple’s shower or wedding that your wife insisted you attend, while your favorite sports team is playing in a pivotal game. Your DVR is set, and you anxiously await the chance to get home to watch everything play out. Suddenly, another unwilling male attendee loudly announces the final score of the game that you are looking forward to watching in its entirety. How does this change the way you perceive the drama and play-by-play of the game later? Does knowing the end change the way you experience it? Unfortunately, this is how we read the Scriptures. We know what comes next, and how the Old Testament ends with the anticipation and coming of the Savior! We must try to remember that these characters had no idea how things would unfold. The magnitude of Joseph’s reaction to Mary’s pregnancy can be easily lost in our awareness that everything turns out fine in the end.

Try to place yourself in Joseph’s shoes. If your fiancée had just informed you that she was pregnant by way of the Holy Spirit, your emotions would most likely be filled with betrayal, fury and heartbreak.

St. Joseph was a much calmer and wiser man, as you can imagine. He did not respond in this way. He struggled with how he would handle this situation. In the midst of his struggle, God sent an angel to explain to him that what Mary said was true. The angel explained there was nothing to fear and that he should take her as his wife. Joseph arose and did what the angel asked of him.

This was truly an unprecedented event in human history. Even though St. Joseph had great faith, there was no previous example of God working in this way before. His quick response showed his confidence that God was capable of doing the impossible. At the core of his being resided unshakeable faith that God was a God of miracles. Joseph was utterly confident in the fact that God was alive and active, both in the creation of the world and the daily lives of each and every soul he so masterfully created. St. Joseph believed that God dynamically intervenes in human history and was humble enough to surrender to God’s plan.

God could have made the decision easier for Mary and Joseph. When he sent Gabriel to Mary, Joseph was not present. Therefore, Mary’s fiat (her Yes!) was made independent of Joseph. She had no idea how he would respond when finding out about her miraculous pregnancy! Her fiat demonstrated her unwavering faith in God and her outright trust in Joseph. It was only after Mary told Joseph what had taken place that God sent an angel to Joseph. God relied on their personal decisions to trust in him and in one another before sharing the details of his plan with Joseph.

Through the experience from this unprecedented event, I have no doubt that Mary and Joseph learned to trust in God more than ever. For Mary, she would hold on to this immovable faith and trust all the way to the foot of the cross. They knew God was in control. No matter how it appeared to the rest of the world, they knew God had a plan.

Their example teaches us something about God as well as something about both Mary and Joseph. Their faith in God was unshakeable. Their trust in his plan was unfailing. Joseph would follow God’s will at all costs, no matter what it meant for his own life. When I think about this obedience, I can’t help but think about Christ himself. Like father, like son.

Personal Reflection:

God seeks men of faith. God can move mountains in your life and the lives of others if he finds in you the faith of a mere mustard seed. Jesus reminds us, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23). In difficult moments, when you do not understand and your faith is tested, remember that God’s ways are not your ways, and his thoughts are not your thoughts. His plans are infinitely higher. It is in these moments in particular that you must place your life and the lives of your loved ones in his hands. Allow St. Joseph to be your guide.

Heavenly Father – inspire in me a faith like St. Joseph’s, so that I may always trust in your ways.

St. Joseph – unveil for me the love of the Holy Spirit present in my spouse.  Amen.

 

Total Abandonment

Day 7

The Lord can accomplish marvels through souls who abandon themselves completely to his will! Abandonment, properly understood, includes a full and total gift of self. We give everything. It requires heroic humility, deep interior faith, unshakable confidence and radical obedience. The irony is that in abandonment, we find perfect fulfillment of our greatest desires. When we lose ourselves, we find ourselves.

As men, we often feel a duty to “man the ship”, so to speak. We naturally lead, guide and protect. Perhaps the responsibility is at times overbearing. We can regularly feel as if so many people depend on us to steer them with all the right answers. While we often times bear the obligation to be the compass for other people, abandonment can sound unpractical and unachievable.

Ironically, Saint Therese insisted, “It is abandonment alone which guides me. I have no other compass” (Manuscrits Autobiographiques, 207). As her spirituality matured, St. Therese found that she was no longer driven by her own desires. The two competing compasses of her past had been reduced to one: doing the will of God. In our lives, jobs and families, there is only one person who should be steering the ship, and we should follow his every order. When God finds souls like St. Therese, he is free to accomplish whatever he wills through them. Pause for a moment to consider: what would life be like if you surrendered everything, and I mean everything, to the Lord?

We cannot know for certain, but I believe Joseph possessed heroic virtues and sanctity long before he knew of his historical vocation. Joseph had long before united his own will to the will of God. Therefore, God knew there was an open vessel to carry out his most beautiful plan for the salvation of souls.

When we abandon our lives to the will of God, no matter what happens, we experience a profound inner peace. St. Joseph’s very life was a testament to this reality. Reflect on the events surrounding the birth of Christ and his infancy. The Holy Family fled on a donkey to a town called Bethlehem and could not find a room to sleep. I don’t know many women who would be thrilled to be nine months pregnant, about to go into labor and be forced to sleep outside. Imagine telling your bride, “Don’t worry, dear! We can lay down our newborn in this feeding trough after the birth.”

Things did not get any easier after the birth. King Herod was infuriated that he had been tricked by the wise men and decided that the only way to ensure his reign continued would be to have all the males under the age of two killed (Matthew 2:16). The infamous Massacre of the Innocents is hard to imagine even 2,000 years later. Joseph fled Israel and had his wife and child on the run once again. In obedience, they went to Egypt, where they waited for further instruction from the angel of the Lord. After Herod’s death, he took his family back to Israel, but then was forced to withdraw to the district of Galilee and finally to the small, obscure town of Nazareth. God’s plans for Joseph didn’t always make sense, but as long as the Lord was at the helm, Joseph knew he was on the right track.

Through Joseph’s journey, a profound peace was born from the fruit of trust, obedience and abandonment to the will of God. The peace in the hearts of Mary and Joseph did not remain internal and invisible but became physical and tangible. The Peace of God was born and laid in swaddling clothes in that manger. Both angels and animals were present before the one who was both God and man. The spiritual and the physical became incarnate in the Christ-child. There was a cosmic harmony the Earth had not yet experienced until that silent night. Peace was present in the midst of what the rest of the world would call chaos. That is what Joseph and the Holy Family experienced.  St. Paul described it as peace “which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7).

God had a plan, and his will was accomplished. To see it through, he chose a man after his own heart. Peace entered the world through abandonment.

Personal Reflection:

Christ proclaimed to the disciples, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me, and to accomplish his work” (John 4:34). Do you trust in the goodness of God enough to lay your life down in abandonment to his will? What is holding you back? Fear of suffering? Fear of failure? Fear you will miss out on all the fun? Do not worry if you are weak, for God promises, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). “Confidence is perfected in worry, humility is perfected in the movements of pride, light is perfected in darkness” (Father Jean d’Elbee, I Believe in Love).

It comes down to believing and trusting in the goodness of God and then having the humility to believe that he loves you. He longs to fulfill his plans for your life. As surely as he did for St. Joseph, he longs to bring peace into your life.

Heavenly Father – ease the doubts, fears, and distractions that cloud my mind and my heart. Help me to take another step in my spiritual life by laying all that I have and all that I am at your feet. Jesus, I trust in you!

St. Joseph – make me a man after God’s own heart. Amen.

 

Sower and the Seed

Day 6

Scripture tells us St. Joseph was “a just man before God,” and we now understand through our reflection that he was also “a man after God’s own heart.” In short, Joseph was good soil that bore abundant fruit. Today, let us consider Christ’s parable of the sower and the seed. It speaks of both St. Joseph and of ourselves.

The story of the sower and the seed is unique. By definition, every man fits into one of the four categories, but at the same time, most of us have experienced a little of each.

For today’s reflection, let us listen to the words of Christ and contemplate the obstacles for becoming fertile soil:

Personal Reflection:

The sower goes out to sow the Word of God.

1) “Some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them” (Matthew 13:4). Christ explains, “When any one hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart” (Matthew 13:19).

  • Is your heart united to God?
  • What are the obstacles/distractions from this?

2) “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away” (Matthew 13:5-6). Christ explains, “As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures for awhile and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away” (Matthew 13:20-21).

  • Are you rooted in Christ or in the comforts of the world?
  • What is the evidence of this in your daily routine?

3) “Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them” (Matthew 13:7). Christ explains, “This is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

  • Is your ultimate desire for worldly success or to serve the Lord?
  • What desires choke the Word in your personal life?

4) “Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:8). Christ explains, “This is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (Matthew 13:23).

  • Are you like Joseph? Do you listen to God’s word, understand it, and rise up to fulfill it?
  • How does it change your life when you accomplish the will of the Father?

Heavenly Father – help me to set aside the distractions in my life, so that I may become the good soil. Help me detach myself from my own disordered passions that cause me to lose the seed that you have planted within my soul. Help me to listen, to understand, and to do your will. Use me to bear great fruit. Make me more like St. Joseph. Amen.

St. Joseph – make me a man after God’s own heart. Amen.


 

Do Whatever He Tells You

Day 5

While Joseph spoke not a word in Scripture, Our Lady spoke merely a few. Her words were powerful, and her final words say it all: “Do whatever he tells you” (John 2:5). Mary spoke them to the chief steward at the Wedding Feast of Cana, and she perpetually speaks them to her children throughout human history. These are Mary’s words for us, the best and only Christian advice we need. Most people make things very complex, but Mary makes it very simple. In a single sentence, she sums up the entire life of St. Joseph, a life she witnessed firsthand. I’m sure this sentence was the mantra of their entire lives, and we are blessed that this wisdom has been passed along to us.

Yesterday, we heard that King David was honorably named “a man after my heart, who will do all my will” (Acts 13: 22). What merited this response from God? Precisely as God says, he “will do all my will.”

For David, this desire manifested itself as a desire to be in the presence of God. As the story unraveled we find that God’s plans differed from David’s as he had something else in store. Although it must have been incredibly difficult, King David obeyed. David’s heart longed for action as he yearned to build a temple where God could reside amongst his people. He began the preparations that his son, Solomon, would one day complete. David lived with a growing hunger to encounter the living God.

Nearly a thousand years later, a man once again experienced this presence of God in an earth-shattering way through unshakable obedience. “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins”  (Matthew 1:20-21).

The very person of God in flesh came to dwell in his home, eat at his table and work by his side. St. Joseph became a man after God’s own heart, as he gazed into the eyes of the child that he loved more than life. Joseph worked to feed his family, prayed to lead his family, longed to bring joy to his family and made decisions for the good of his family. By simply loving the son entrusted to him, St. Joseph became a man after God’s own heart.

Personal Reflection:

Jesus promises that “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mt. 18:20). Jesus longs to make good on this promise in the daily rhythm of your home. Just as Joseph was a man after the heart of his son, that very same son is present in the heart of your family. Joseph was the pioneer of Christian fatherhood as he fathered Christ. Make no mistake, he intercedes for you now that you may be a man after God’s own heart, and that you won’t miss the presence of God dwelling so clearly within the walls of your home.

St. Joseph not only carried out God’s will – he did not hesitate. He did not have a passive role in the story of our salvation, and he did not have a passive personality. He may have been meek and humble of heart, but St. Joseph was a man of action.

How is God calling you in your life and how will you respond? Do you have the humility and faith to do whatever he tells you?

Heavenly Father, at times it is very hard for me to discern your voice.

I desire to do your will. Help me draw closer to you and remove the clutter from my life, so that I may hear when you call.  May your still, small voice be like thunder to my heart. Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.

St. Joseph, make me a man after God’s own heart. Amen.

 

A Man After God’s Own Heart

Day 4

Today is the start of Section 2:
A Just Man before God

“Though thou hast recourse to many saints as thine intercessors, go specially to St. Joseph, for he has great power with God.”
St. Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church; Spiritual Maxims #65

A Man After God’s Own Heart

King David was the only man named in Scripture as a “man after God’s own heart.” This title stands out, because King David was the center of quite a scandal in his time. Not only did he have an adulterous affair, but he also became an accomplice to murder in his efforts to hide his sin. As the story unfolded, God sent the Prophet Nathan, David repented, and for ages humanity has been blessed to read some of the most beautiful penitential passages in all of Scripture (see Psalm 51). David’s life exemplified an incredible testimony to the truth of the famous words of St. Paul, “where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20).

God “raised up David to be their king; of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David, the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will’” (Acts 13:22). As men of God, our hearts’ mission must align with David’s in pursuit of the heart of the Father. Our actions, decisions, prayer and daily comings and goings should gratify the Lord.

Although King David was the only man we find in Scripture named as such, it is safe to say that St. Joseph was a man after God’s own heart. He was single-minded and whole-hearted in his desire to follow and do God’s will no matter the consequence. Consider what the Holy Spirit reveals to us about St. Joseph in the Scriptures. On four different occasions, God’s will was revealed to Joseph by means of an angel, and in each instance, Joseph responded with complete obedience.

But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20)

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took his wife, but knew her not until she had borne a son; and he called his name Jesus. (Matthew 1:24-25)

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there till I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. And he rose and took the child and his mother by night, and departed to Egypt. (Matthew 2:13-14)

But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother, and went to the land of Israel.” (Matthew 2:19-21)

But when he heard that Archelaus reigned over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth.” (Matthew 2:22-23)

St. Joseph intently listened to the voice of God and acted upon it from the time he awoke. Each day, we can hear St. Joseph emphatically resound, “Yes!” to the Lord’s call and will.  In the heart of Joseph was a desire to adore the heart of God, and as a result, his deepest desires were satisfied. He was living proof of King David’s promise that you must, “find your delight in the Lord, who will give you your heart’s desire” (Psalm 27:5).

Personal Reflection:

The world is desperate for more men like St. Joseph, men after God’s own heart. In order to be one yourself, you must lay down your will at his feet, proclaiming in your heart along with Mary and Joseph, “Let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

Tomorrow, we will consider the obstacles we must overcome.

Heavenly Father – give me the grace and desire to become a man after your own heart.  Help me follow your will and trust in your goodness. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.

St. Joseph – make me a man after God’s own heart. Amen.

 

St. Joseph Our Model

Day 3

 

“Let your life be free from love of money, and be content with what you have; for as it is said, ‘I will never fail you nor forsake you.’”
Hebrews 13:5

It is well known that many men struggle with the art of comparison. For some of us, it is an innate tendency toward competition. For others, it can be a badgering subconscious desire to size up the next guy. However it manifests itself, the majority of men are driven by a need to out-play, out-perform and out-do the competition in order to feel successful and fulfilled.

For most of our marriage, my wife and I have done ministry work within an affluent parish community. While our career choices definitely imply that we are not in our fields for the money, we have been invited to rub elbows in more than a few mansions over the years. Although I am 100% dedicated to the work my wife and I have chosen, I must admit that every once in a while, temptation knocks on my heart. In those moments when I compare myself to others, I ask, “Am I providing sufficiently for my family?” When I begin to equate my financial successes with my value as a husband and father, a subsequent question arises: “Am I a failure?”

I am probably not the only man who has had these temptations occasionally whispered in his ear. Three of the four Gospels recount Satan’s same temptation of Christ himself, as he offered Christ the power and luxuries of the world. The Lord countered Satan’s empty promises by vowing to us that when we reject the love of money and success, he doesn’t leave us with a void. Instead, he fills us with his very self. He promises, “I will never forsake you or abandon you.” The honest truth is that many of us are slaves to comparison, but Christ promises to set us free.

Of course, there is a man who heroically lived this truth with an unshakable trust paired with an unprecedented mission. While there are other men out there who are competing against you, St. Joseph isn’t one of them. Joseph unspeakably stands as an amazing example of sanctity and what it means to be a real man. When I humbly invited St. Joseph to be an active presence in my life, I found that he didn’t make me feel like a failure. On the contrary, Joseph gently whispered, “Mark, let me show you a more exceptional way. Let me come into your heart and your home and bring peace.” He doesn’t go to work for me, pay the bills or take care of the kids, but I appreciate that he does so much more!

Joseph is a gentle and loving father, a man after God’s own heart. He is the man we all want to be. I would venture to say that during your journey through this book, St. Joseph will bring about a deeper relationship with you. This is because Joseph wants nothing more than to deliver you to God the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ. St. Louis de Montfort calls Mary the shortest, quickest, easiest way to Jesus. St. Joseph shares in this very mission. Get to know the entire Holy Family, and expect your heart to be transformed!

Personal Reflection:

As you personally draw closer to the humble St. Joseph, you will likely discover his heroic sanctity. This sanctity may bring to light an even greater perspective on your weaknesses and selfishness. Remember those whom God has chosen before you and never despair.

Abraham lied and was too old. Sarah laughed at God’s promises. Moses stuttered. David was an adulterer and accomplice to murder. Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. Amos’ only training was in the school of fig-tree pruning. Jacob was a liar. Solomon was too rich. Jeremiah was too young. Naomi was a widow. Noah got drunk. Jonah ran from God and got swallowed by a whale! Mariam was a gossip. Thomas doubted. Peter denied Christ three times. Paul was a murderer. So was Moses. Jesus was too poor. (Author unknown).

We all have issues, insecurities and sins. Ask God for his infinite mercy and for St. Joseph to guide you beyond your weaknesses. 

Heavenly Father – Thank you for the gift of your mercy and forgiveness. Help me not to compare or evaluate my spiritual life or my dignity based upon the lives of others, but instead let me focus upon my relationship with you. You are my Father, and I am your son. Thank you for the gift and example of your servant, St. Joseph.

St. Joseph – illuminate the darkness that shrouds your life. Pierce the silence that hides your wisdom. Amen.

 

He Spoke Not A Word

Day 2

We have all heard it said that “actions speak louder than words.” In the case of St. Joseph, we have not a single spoken word recorded in all of Scripture. I understand humility, but if it were me, I would have bargained with God for at least something! Joseph accomplished everything the Lord asked from him while spending thirty years in the presence of the God-Man and the Immaculate Conception. Surely, he had more than a few stories to tell! Yet, we hear not a word…

Why would the Holy Spirit will the hiddenness and silence of St. Joseph in Scripture? Did the second greatest saint in heaven truly have nothing to say? In this light, could he really have been all that important? On the contrary, this silence should speak loudly to us. St. Joseph is the ultimate example of the famous teaching of St. Francis of Assisi, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” Throughout this journey, we will enter into the mystery of St. Joseph and allow him to “preach the gospel” to us through his actions and even through his silence. If we have the spiritual ears to hear it, God wishes to teach us something profound through the silence of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph was content to be hidden because he was not all about himself. St. Joseph was all about God. He had no desire to be in the limelight, no desire to get in a word or two, no desire for attention and no desire to make himself known. Therefore, his example teaches us an incredibly valuable and absolutely essential element in the spiritual life…It’s not about ME! From the very start, we learn from him the essential virtue of humility.

It is hard, if not impossible, to truly possess any other virtue, if we are lacking in humility. Simply put, the opposite of humility is pride. Within every sin committed, there is an element of pride at its core. In the words of St. Augustine, “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” If our other virtues are filled with pride, then they aren’t really authentic virtues at all. Over the next month, we will see the abstract idea of humility put on flesh through the example of this unassuming carpenter. We are just getting started. The more we become acquainted with him, the more we enter into the mystery, and as we do so, the hidden character of St. Joseph will begin to be revealed.

Personal Reflection:

As you set out along this journey, start by reflecting on your own life. First and foremost, there is a need to enter into daily silence. God desires to speak to you with a still, small voice. If there is no room for silence in your life, it becomes impossible to hear that voice. Don’t be afraid to waste time with God. Ask St. Joseph to help you make time for daily silence, and ask him to teach you to listen for the subtle and gentle voice of the Lord.

Second, you must begin this journey with the desire to grow in humility. You must come to an understanding that, in turning our focus from within, we find what we seek! St. Joseph was a master of this concept. Let us pursue this great humility by once again looking to the advice of St. Augustine, “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”

Heavenly Father – give me the grace to desire a deeper relationship with you. Help me to hear your whisper amidst the noise of my life. May your word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

St. Joseph – illuminate the darkness that shrouds your life. Pierce the silence that hides your wisdom. Amen.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

Chosen

Day 1

From all generations
From all peoples,
From all men,
Joseph was chosen.

From the moment of the fall of Adam and Eve, humanity awaited a Savior. Expectations grew over thousands of years while all of creation held its breath anticipating salvation. Of course, God’s imagination is capable of constructing an infinite number of ways to manifest his love for us. He could have come in a magnificent fashion, blinding the world with his infinite glory that we may begin to see clearly again. If I were God, that’s how I would have done it!  Instead, he made the radical choice to leave his throne in the heavens and break into human history over 2,000 years ago as an infant, placing himself in the care of a mere man and woman. God the Father entrusted God the Son to two humans, Mary and Joseph. He became dependent upon their “Yes” and upon their love and protection to accomplish his most beautiful plan for our salvation.

God did not need Mary and Joseph, but in his unfathomable wisdom and providence, he chose them to play an essential role, as he carried out his divine plan. God chose to rely upon them for the care of his only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He has chosen St. Joseph for us as well. In the next thrity days, you will discover the father and model that desires an invitation into your home and family.

Personal Reflection:

Each day, we will explore an aspect of St. Joseph and follow with a personal reflection to relate this to our own lives. The personal reflection is intended to be a spiritual challenge to help us examine our current lives and lead us into deeper communion with God. As we “look in the mirror” a bit, we may feel uncomfortable. You may feel tempted at times to say to yourself, “I’m not that holy, I don’t have heroic virtue and trust, and I don’t even know what mission God has given to me.” Self-reflection and examination of your own spiritual life is of great value if you want to grow in your faith. Place your hope in the Lord and never despair of your weakness or sinfulness.

God doesn’t choose the qualified, he qualifies the chosen. And God is calling you.

From all generations,
From all peoples,
From all men,
You have been chosen.

He has chosen you for your wife. He has chosen you for your children. He has chosen you for your family. He has chosen you for your vocation. He could have done things in a different way, but instead he chose to rely upon your faith, your trust and your love. He chose you to play an integral role in the salvation of those in your care. You have an incredible dignity and responsibility before you.

You see, our God is as intimate as he is infinite. God understands your situation. He knows what you are going through. He understands the crosses that you carry in your life and the ins and outs of your relationships. Whether you are married or single, he understands your struggles, and within them he has an incredible plan for you and you alone. There may be times when those plans are confusing and you might ask if God picked the right man for the job. Just as God handpicked a carpenter for a singular role in the history of the world, God is calling you… and he is calling for a reason. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “Your life may be the only sermon some people hear today.” He is calling you in your home, in your workplace, in your daily tasks. He will call, and he will qualify.

Mary said Yes.
Joseph said Yes.
What do you say?

Heavenly Father, as I begin this journey, give me the faith and trust I need to follow you. Give me the courage to say “Yes” to you today and everyday of my life.

St. Joseph – illuminate the darkness that shrouds your life. Pierce the silence that hides your wisdom. Amen.

Additional Resources