Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent: St. Joseph of the Blessed Virgin Mary
“Son, why have You done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety” –Luke 2:48.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
We find very little written about Saint Joseph in Holy Scripture but the scenes that do include him are powerful. Not surprisingly, all the stories of the saint revolve around everyday activities that we too encounter during our lifetimes – parenthood (for many of us), family life, hard work, vocation, etc. Because of the ordinary of it all, St. Joseph’s quiet strength, immense courage, and maximum virtue is often overlooked.
In the two Gospel readings offered as options today, we get a sneak peak at Joseph doing what he did best: caring for his family with no concern for the cost to himself. From his willingness to protect Mary and the infant Jesus, to his acceptance of the Archangel Gabriel’s message in a dream, to his inspirational fatherhood and discovery of Jesus in the temple, St. Joseph always put his family first. That was his number one priority given by God, and and he fulfilled it perfectly.
In today’s Gospel message, Mary says to Jesus: “Your father and I have been looking for you.” How does Jesus reply? “Did you not know that I must be in My Father’s House?” In this short passage, Jesus reminds us of where we can still find Him today – in Church; more specifically in the blessed sacrament of the Eucharist. We later read that Jesus returns with his family, obeying His earthly mother and foster father, and advancing in wisdom, age, and favor before God and man (Luke 2:52). This maturing, physically and spiritually, happened under the watchful eye and virtuous guiding of His earthly parents – Mother Mary and St. Joseph – just as God had intended for all men.
St. Joseph was specifically chosen by Almighty God to be the foster father of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, for a reason. Joseph’s Christ-likeness shined a powerful light on divine virtue, i.e. faith, selflessness, meekness, extraordinary work ethic, courage etc, as well as the necessity for obedience. In light of this, Joseph became the perfect earthly father for all men to look up to (and, for fathers, to emulate). He also demonstrates how to act the next time you feel unappreciated or overlooked. Through faith, Joseph kept his focus on God always; He was his number one priority. He also remained courageously devoted to his family and always did what God asked no matter how mundane, challenging, painful, or dangerous.
Day 27 Lenten Meditation
Put yourself in St. Joseph’s shoes for a moment. You are living a normal life, working your trade, engaged to be married, when all of the sudden you are blindsided by an encounter with the divine. The heavenly messenger delivers a message hat is nearly impossible to wrap your mind around. Moreover, this message will undoubtedly change your life. Rather than lash out or run and hide, however, you begin to reflect on God and His Word. Finding solace and faith in your Creator, you choose to listen, obey, and surrender your will for the divine Will. Thus, you end up embarking upon an unimaginable journey; one that leaves an eternal legacy. Just imagine!
So then, how do you remain in faith when you feel worried or upset? How do you think St. Joseph maintained his faith in the face of fear and uncertainty? The answer is he kept God first and prayed unceasingly. He completely abandoned his own will. A man of unwavering prayer, St. Joseph trusted God above all else, loved his bride as Jesus loves His Church, and protected the Son of Man with every ounce of his being. St. Joseph became a living sacrifice on earth for the Kingdom. In light of this sacrifice, St. Joseph thus became our model; a reminder of the universal call to faith and perseverance no matter the cost.
When nothing makes sense, do as St. Joseph did. Pray, trust, and persevere with God by your side. This is the tried-and-true pathway of Saint Joseph, the pathway of sainthood, and the pathway called forth for us by God Himself.
Additional Readings Today
O good and courageous St. Joseph, unsung hero of Scripture, show us how to live in humility and austerity, not for ourselves but for others. Show us how to trust and act with compassion in every situation no matter what we may encounter. Father of all Mercy, grant us the grace of a closer friendship with and devotion to Saint Joseph. By Your grace, and like St. Joseph, make us more dependent upon You for everything we need. Help us to surrender our will and possess complete trust in Yours as he did. We pray this all in Your good and holy Name. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
Pray in a special way today to the Holy Family, St. Joseph, Mother Mary, and Jesus. Repent for any sin weighing on your heart, vow to amend your ways, and ask the Holy Family to lead you forward.
“Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession” –Saint Isidore of Seville.