Thursday, March 19, 2009

A deep and perfect love

“If discouragement overwhelms you, think of the faith of Joseph; if anxiety has its grip on you, think of the hope of Joseph, that descendant of Abraham who hoped against hope; if exasperation or hatred seizes you, think of the love of Joseph, who was the first man to set eyes on the human face of God.”

These words are taken from the magnificent homily given by our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, at the Mass celebrating the Feast of St. Joseph today in Cameroon in Africa. I encourage you to click on the following link and find time to savor this beautiful reflection.

Saint Joseph is the chosen Guardian of our Religious Community. Our house of Formation is named in his honor. For years I had a difficult time with devotion to this saint. Unlike our Blessed Mother he was always just a “statue” to me, with no flesh and blood, no personality. But oh my, that is no longer so since I have come to know him better.

God the Father entrusted to him the mission of being the virginal spouse of the most exalted of God’s creatures and the virginal father of the Son of the Most High. Because he was chaste – a virgin – it might seem that he was un-manly, that he was a wimp, a man without feelings. It takes a man of great spiritual courage and strength to embrace the grace of chastity. St. Joseph was able to do that because his love for God was deep. Joseph loved God with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his strength.

“His position as head of the Holy Family caused him to enter into a special intimacy with God whose place he held; he carried out his orders and interpreted his will in regard to Mary whose husband he was and in regard to the Son of God made man, whom he saw grow under his very eyes, whom he sustained by his labor...

“He neither had nor sought anything for himself; Jesus called him father, but Joseph knew well that he was not his son, and Jesus himself would confirm this… (Luke 2:49) Mary was his wife, but Joseph knew that she belonged exclusively to God, and he watched over her for him, assisting her in her mission as mother of the Son of God. When his work was no longer needed, he disappeared in silence…
(taken from p. 254, Volume II, Divine Intimacy, Ignatius Press)

If only we could love God the way St. Joseph did! St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church, pray for us!

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