Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Strong, Silent Type...

Today is the Feast of Saint Joseph - husband of the BVM, step-father to the LORD, patron of workers, carpenters, fathers and all-around friend of GOD. I imagine my sisters at the monastery got to talk at breakfast this morning because of the feast. (LENT means silence at breakfast while the prioress reads to us.) I imagine, too, that Sister Pat is preparing a special meal for this evening. It might even be a "wine feast" - an occasion where wine is served as a symbol of the joyous feast. There are just a couple of these feasts in the dry desert of LENT.)

Joseph is a rather mysterious figure. He is the focal point of Matthew's infancy narrative, though he never utters a word. We are told he is a "righteous" man, unwilling to expose Mary to public shame. Right there, he has my heart forever. Visited by an angel in his dreams, Joseph receives the grace to believe that the promise to Israel is about to be fulfilled. Into his care go Mary and the long-awaited saviour. Could any man have a more important destiny?

Some depictions of the great saint offer an old man, many years older than his bride. Was Joseph a widower, perhaps? Did he have children already? We'll never know. In the film, "The Nativity", Joseph is portrayed as a single man, not so much Mary's senior. His character is faithful, gentle and strong in all the right ways. I've never seen such a tender rendering of the blossoming of a relationship.

We can learn a lot from Saint Joseph. Trust GOD and all things are possible. Love is a choice that requires perseverance. Fatherhood is more than a biological status. Work imparts dignity and yields holiness. Perhaps, today, I'll make a list of all the "Joseph's" in my life - men of few words whose lives embody faith, love and hope. My Dad, my brother and my brothers-in-law are in my grateful prayers today. Is there a "Joseph" in your life? Pray for him...and give thanks.

Blessings and love to you all...

- Sister Vicki