A little more than a month ago I was prompted by the Holy Spirit to start a new journey. A journey with a special person; who was highly esteemed – THE man after God’s own heart. Most of us would have associated that title to King David as the bible has shown us the evidence of this (Acts 13: 22). I do believe that this inspirational man has inspired countless men to be like him; a man after God’s own heart. And I believe one of them was his very own descendent; Joseph, the foster Father of Jesus.
God has indeed been very kind to me by inviting me to a 30 Days novena journey with St. Joseph; starting on his feast day, 19 March (one of the 2 days that the Church will break her silence during Lent and sing the Gloria) all through to completion on 16 April. It has been nothing short of an adventure learning from this great man of God; whom I now fondly call as my good father. In the beginning of the journey, what stood out for me were 2 words; OBEDIENCE and HUMILITY.
He was that wise man in tune with God that he could hear God’s command clearly. He was not just a hearer of the Word but a doer as well. Evidenced in his prompt action to take Mary as his wife, quickly move both the Child and Mother to safety in Egypt and brought them back to Israel at the appointed time. As I journey along, I pondered upon the ability of St. Joseph to be a doer of the Word. How did he hear so clearly? Where did he get all those courage to respond? I came to realise the answer lies in his relationship with God. His prayer life must have built that intimate relationship with God that eventually made him a man after God’s own heart. The way he pursued God’s will is really something I want to emulate.
Reflecting upon my own life from the point of view of St. Joseph’s sanctity, I see the beauty of my imperfections. We do not have much biblical source about his life but somehow I am pretty sure he was as human as you and I are. I am pretty sure he has some plans and hopes for the future, he has his struggles and joy; he has his temperance and reservations, strengths and weaknesses. After all, he was a through and through ordinary human being called to carry an extraordinary mission – being the protector and provider for the Son of God and His mother. God, the Father must have trusted this man tremendously. Looking at the mission He has placed in my life, I realised that God trusted me tremendously as well. It is I who could not trust myself as much as God trust me. It is I who sees me as small and insignificant but God sees me differently. More often than not, it is pretty hard for me to accept these facts. How could the God of the Universe love me this much? What does He really see in me? I may not be able to find the answer to my questions because the mysterious element in our relationship with God is what made the journey of life really exciting. In this excitement, I believe that God is always more, there is always more to His mercy and His love. I also believe that God desires to see me grow; therefore there is always more to what He can offer. With that sentiment, I came to accept that the best way to move in His word and Spirit as St. Joseph did is to rest in His love.
St. Joseph has the privilege of beholding the face of God when he accepted his mission on earth to be the earthly father figure of Jesus. I would imagine the smile on his face when Jesus first started to respond to His surroundings. Joseph must have been overwhelmed with joy at the first word Jesus uttered as a baby. What excitement must it been for him to see Jesus taking His very first step! The joy of parenthood was given him by the gift of Jesus. I wondered how did he disciplined Jesus, how did he pass on the tradition of faith to Jesus and how did he teach Him the trade of carpentry. Was he upset when Jesus was lost for 3 days in the temple? Was he distressed when the angel asked him to bring His family to Egypt? Was he worried when he was required to bring his heavily pregnant wife on the journey to Bethlehem? Was he panicked when there was no place to the Child to be born? Was he concerned about providence for his journey and livelihood of his family?
The privilege he enjoyed comes with the beauty of ordinary lives – the package of joys and struggles. I personally grumble a lot when I struggle. I wanted things my way – the easy way; which is more often than not, opposed to the way of God. God has wanted me to walk through the narrow path of purification just so I can behold His face. The process has always been unpleasant but the destination is always beautiful. All through the struggles that I have been through, I learnt to sail through my storms of life with gratitude. I admit that it is not always easy to be grateful especially when God seems to permit my least favourite struggles. These are the times I can depend on His grace. Through my journey with St. Joseph, I can also see that his was a life depended on grace. His obedience to the Word of God made him a humble man. It is the same for me as well, when God disciplined me; I find myself struggling to obey Him but once I did, I see the fruit of humility in my life. God is changing me and increasing in me His virtue, slowly but surely. Looking at the hindsight, I can be grateful for everything that the Lord has allowed to happen because He has purposed everything for my growth – to be imperfectly beautiful and perfectly loved.
Dear friends, I pray that you are encouraged to embrace your beauty through your imperfections. St. Joseph being a great saint has also lived an ordinary life-like each of us. He has left us with a legacy that we can exemplify. I am grateful for this silent but profoundly influential man. God in His genius plan for family has provided for His Son a place of nurture with the basic of a male and a female figure. Seeing the drama of St. Joseph’s life, I cannot help but praise the Director of this drama, God the Father. The plot was amazing; the suspense was great with the adventures (I am imagining some background music here 😉 ) and the message – Redemptive. May you be encouraged by this great man after God’s own heart to build a deeper relationship with God.
St. Joseph, pray for us.
With lots of love,