During the homily this weekend I highlighted 5 lessons that Saint Joseph teaches us. After the 8:30 Mass at St Mary’s, I met Mrs. Tommye Grant who was visiting from Washington, DC. Mrs. Grant told me that she especially appreciated our singing of “Soon and Very Soon.” Also, she added a sixth item to the list, which is included below!
St Joseph teaches us…
- Prayer: Prior to his vision of the archangel, St Gabriel, St Joseph must have been a man of prayer. Without intentional effort we cannot intuit the promptings of the indwelling Holy Spirit on our hearts. St Joseph had the discernment that comes from prayer; we know this because he knew the difference from a regular dream and a graced encounter with the divine. With a bit of effort and daily practice, each one of us can develop the habit of prayer.
- Chastity: This is a virtue which no person can do without. Chastity keeps our desires in order, and enables us to love better. There is a form of chastity which is proper to the married as well as the unmarried. St Joseph is often described as “most chaste” because of the particular way he lived his marriage with the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we learn from his example we will be free to love more and love better.
- Openness: St Joseph was open to the will of God. We can be sure that God’s will for St Joseph was not St Joseph’s will for St Joseph. However, St Joseph was open to hearing what the angel told him. If we are not open, we cannot accept. St Joseph teaches us to assume a posture of openness so that we accept all the plans that God has for us.
- Discretion: St Joseph was discreet in how he spoke and acted. This is why he wanted to quietly divorce Blessed Mary; St Joseph did not want to expose her to shame or make her the subject of gossip. Each of us would do well to keep our chatter about others to a minimum. For more on this matter see: Four things to avoid for a happier Holiday Season.
- Ask questions: Many people say they have doubts about the faith, but what they really mean is that they have questions. St Joseph, and even the Blessed Mother, asked questions! The key to asking questions is trust. St Joseph and Our Lady trusted God to give them adequate answers. We may not immediately understand all of the Church’s teachings or the significance of our difficult life events, but this does not mean that we should not look. It takes work to find answers, if it did not we would not have investigative journalists. Perhaps the greatest resource we have on our side today is the internet and its plethora of Catholic websites and blogs. Most importantly, St Joseph teaches us that by asking questions we can deepen our faith.
- Responsibility: Once St Joseph met the angel, he accepted the responsibility that was given to him. None of us should shy away from accepting responsibilities because it is by accepting responsibility that we have the biggest growth (and sanctification!). I think this is most clear with becoming a parent. Accepting the gift of a child is a great responsibility, but from this parents receive the greatest blessings. Thanks, Mrs. Grant, for calling to our attention that St Joseph teaches us responsibility!
A blessed Christmas Season to you all!
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Mrs. Grant had something to add, do you? Comment below.