Reflection on St. Joseph, March 19
For the Feast of St. Joseph, Sister Dorothy Schweitzer shares this reflection on how St. Joseph trusted his faith in God when learning Mary would give birth to the Saviour.
In Matthew 1:18-19, the Bible tells us of how Joseph initially reacted to discovering that his wife, Mary, was pregnant with Jesus. “Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way: when Mary was engaged to Joseph, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.”
Joseph, what must it have been like for you? I try to imagine the turmoil you must have experienced, the agony, the doubt, the wondering. Yet, being righteous, you wanted to spare your beloved Mary the public disgrace which surely would have followed. To shield her from gossip and calumny, you “planned to dismiss her quietly” and to move on without her love and companionship.
Matthew’s gospel continues: “But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.'” (1:20-21)
What wonderment, mixed with joy and relief, must have flooded your heart as you brought all these emotions to God in wordless prayer. And then, with such fullness of heart, you were able to go to Mary and take her as your wife.
As I reflect on these traumatic events of your life, I know that you were sustained and strengthened by your deep prayer, knowing that God was your rock in whom you put all your trust. I thank you, dear St. Joseph, for your example of fidelity, faith, prayer and courage.
Help me in my life to be God-centred and other-centred as you were, especially in the face of challenge and difficulty. Amen.
Sister Dorothy Schweitzer