A Meditation on Saint Joseph

Most of us prefer to give our lives over to God by the tablespoon; I certainly count myself among that number. Saint Joseph, patron saint of fathers, the Universal Church, and many other patronages, provides an example of a life that was wholly given to serve God. He did not measure out his life when loving and obeying God. And that is what makes him a remarkable person to emulate.

The Nativity

This Saturday, March 19, 2016, will be Saint Joseph’s feast day. My family will be celebrating by making BBQ L.A. Galbi short-ribs, and we’ll be sharing this meal with other families during a fellowship of parents. For this post, I wanted to share quotes from an article that talks about why Saint Joseph’s character is so important for men and husbands, today:

Father Jacques Philippe, in a wonderful little book called Interior Freedom, reminds us that very often the experience of genuine freedom requires acceptance of that which we simply cannot change. He calls it “the paradoxical law of human life,” which grows out of the recognition that “one cannot be truly free unless one accepts not always being free.” In other words, the moments when we are most likely to mature as human beings—enlarging the scope of our own sanctity, as it were—are precisely the times when room to maneuver and master the situation do not exist. But that since life is primarily a gift, why should it matter that we’re unable to manage things?

How piercing the light of that paradox falls upon the life of St. Joseph. Could he, for instance, have imagined a situation in which he was outwardly less free than the one resulting from the fact that his intended bore him a child that did not belong to him? To submit to a situation not of own making? Speaking lines of a script he hadn’t himself written? Had he no other options? Fr. Philippe tells us that when faced with circumstances we do not choose, especially when they appear dangerous and intrusive, there are three possibilities that present themselves to us. There is, to begin with, the option of rebellion, of brazen refusal and revolt in the face of a summons we did not solicit and are loath to welcome. To recoil from the reality before us, says Fr. Philippe, “is often our first, spontaneous reaction to difficulty or suffering. But it has never solved anything.”

Then there is the posture of resignation, which amounts to “a declaration of powerlessness that goes no further. It may be a necessary stage,” he adds, “but if one stops there it also is sterile.”

That leaves option number three, which is an attitude of receptivity leading to real and lasting assent. “We say yes to a reality we initially saw as negative, because we realize that something positive may arise from it.” And the quality of hope hidden in the gesture, as in the willingness of Joseph to extend himself in trust, becomes the grace that ultimately saves. Fr. Philippe is most adamant about the point, assuring us that “the most important thing in our lives is not so much what we can do as leaving room for what God can do. The great secret of all spiritual fruitfulness and growth is learning to let God act.”

I particularly like the quote in the concluding paragraph, attributed to George Bernanos (1888-1948), a French author: “A saint doesn’t live on the interest of his income, or even on his income; he lives on his capital, he gives all of his soul… To engage one’s soul! O, that is not merely a literary image.” This resonates with me because I often find myself obsessed with my family’s investments. The words remind me that I should not be a miser, but to give my whole self over to serve my family, and through them, God.

[Source: http://www.crisismagazine.com/2016/saint-joseph-strong-and-silent]


Mother Teresa to be Canonized a Saint on March 15

Praise God, what a wonderful announcement!

Pope Francis will hold an ordinary public consistory of cardinals in the Vatican March 15, during which he will sign the decree for the canonization of Blessed Mother Teresa of Kolkata and four others.  The dates and venue  of their sainthood ceremony are expected to be declared at the consistory.  Pope Francis had officially cleared Blessed Mother Teresa for sainthood on Dec. 17, 2015, recognizing the miraculous healing through her intercession of a Brazilian man with multiple brain abscesses.   Mother Teresa was conferred the title Blessed in Rome, Italy, on October 19, 2003, after Pope St. John Paul II recognized  the miraculous healing of an Indian woman with a tumor in her abdomen.

I wonder if the recent martyrdom of four Missionaries of Charity nuns was a factor in this announcement. The Church sticking it to the devil: “You hurt my daughters, well… I’m sending Mother Teresa after you.”

Mother Teresa

Holiness Through Work

Our Lord, perfect man in every way, chose a manual trade and carried it out attentively and lovingly for almost the entirety of the years he spent on this earth. He worked as a craftsman among the other people in his village. This human and divine activity of his shows us clearly that our ordinary activities are not an insignificant matter. Rather they are the very hinge on which our sanctity turns, and they offer us constant opportunities of meeting God, and of praising him and glorifying him through our intellectual or manual work.

Saint Josemaria Escriva, “Friends of God”

St. Agatha

Blessed Memorial of St. Agatha!
St. Agatha was a young, Sicilian woman and victim of the Decian persecutions circa 251. At the age of 15, she refused marriage to a Roman prefect. St. Agatha was soon arrested and sent to a brothel and then to prison. She was tortured for her faith and had her breasts cut off. St. Agatha was sentenced to be burnt at the stake but an earthquake delayed her sentence. She was sent to prison where St. Peter appeared to her and healed her wounds. St. Agatha eventually died in prison from repeated torture. She is one of seven women to be remembered in the Canon of the Mass and is also patroness of breast cancer patients, rape victims, nurses and bakers. Her incorrupt body lies in a crypt on Malta. (Source: The Lives of the Saints)

St. Agatha, pray for us!

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