Taking the Next Good Step With Your Not So Average Joe
Today we celebrate the feast of St Joseph, a ‘just’ man who we hear very little about in Scripture but who’s character and actions has shown itself to be of great significance when we think about following the will of God.
Rarely do I really consider St Joseph and his contribution to the lives of Mary and Jesus. The Holy Family is held as the model of family life, but seldom does it look like the way we think it looks. I imagine for St Joseph it must have been a great challenge and the sweetest of pleasures raising Jesus and being a husband to Mary. In some ways he exemplifies for us the ordinary individual without the veneer of perfection that is sometimes glazed over Mary and Jesus.
It is no exaggeration to say that it was from his 'father' Joseph that Jesus acquired - on the human level - that robust interiority which presupposes authentic justice, the "superior justice" which He would one day teach to his disciples. Pope Benedict XVI
St Joseph was no average Joe however, he upheld goodness in his desire and dedication to the will of God. He is a great example of someone taking the next good step. When we consider Joseph’s decision to ‘quietly divorce’ Mary after he discovers her pregnancy and to then decide to continue his marriage with Mary after the message from an angel in a dream, we begin to see the posture of St Joseph’s heart which is always available to the will of God.
His silence is permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to his divine wishes.
Pope Benedict XVI
We often think of the will of God as simply another way. There’s our way of doing things then there’s God’s way. And it can at times carry a heavy sense of foreboding. But in reality, there is only THE way, which source and end is goodness alone, not another rule to follow but a way that holds the most light even if we don’t perceive it at the time. When we contemplate on Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in a stable with the cattle in that very dark place we can begin to see some of that light.
There’s no manual for raising the son of God, what do you do when Egyptian soldiers are on the look out to murder the son entrusted to you?, how do respond when you cannot find a place for your wife to give birth to her first child?, what do you say when your adopted son is lost then found in the temple saying "Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" Luke 2:49 In all these challenging scenarios we can see bits of our own lives. Perhaps there’s confusion, fear, upset when thing’s happen we can’t make sense. We can be rest assured that God’s will is always found in the next good step.
St Joseph Pray for us!
By Charlene Ogu
Painting by David Lobenberg