By Allison Gingras
All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.
They said, “Is not this Joseph’s son?” ~ Luke 4:22
Saint Joseph, the beloved foster father of Jesus and stalwart protector of Mary and Jesus, cooperated with the grace of God to help bring Jesus into our world. Joseph teaches us how we can journey with Mary and Jesus and welcome them into our hearts and homes. Like Mary, Joseph’s ascent to the angel’s message was powered by amazing grace. Grace is undeserved, unmerited, unearned — simply pure gift. Gifts must be received, opened, and used to reach the full potential of their intended use. Perhaps this analogy rings even clearer after spending the last few days engaged in gift-giving and receiving. Hopefully, you did not receive any you’d preferred remained unopened!
Saint Joseph developed a faithful and receptive heart, prepared like Mary, through a life of prayer and obedience to the God they knew and trusted. Saint Joseph stands as an outstanding example to anyone who wishes to accomplish God’s will but may sometimes struggle to understand it.
Joseph undoubtedly worried about the people he loved and the plans they made; however, what he did so well, which we can learn and imitate, is how he prayed, trusted, and surrendered to the will of God. He knew the Psalms, the Covenants, and promises of his God—our God, and he chose not only to believe but allow them to order his life. St. Joseph was grateful when God revealed the plan but didn’t require that to move in faith. He worked hard, did what he could, entrusted in the love and providence of the Lord to do the rest.
Like Mary and Joseph, prayer needs to be a central part of our lives. So we are rooted and grounded in Jesus’ love which works above all things to cultivate receptive hearts. In addition to prayer, participation in the Sacraments and time in the Scriptures also tills the soil of our hearts, preparing them for God’s grace. A man of great honor, righteousness, and virtue, Joseph models for us a loving surrender to the Will of God. His reward is a close bond with the Son of God and His blessed and beloved Mother. This reward awaits each of us as well when we open our hearts to welcome Jesus in.
When Joseph first encountered Jesus at the Nativity, how his heart must have burst with joy to behold his Savior. We have just experienced the joy of Jesus’ Nativity. And in the Church’s wisdom, this grand feast, this celebration, goes on for eight days. Christmas Day is not the end but only the beginning! With faith and devotion like Joseph, may we all experience that moment when we recognize Jesus in our midst—hearts overcome with joy—and welcome Him wholeheartedly into our family.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy, and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen. ~ Pope Francis, Patris Corde, 2020
Call to Action
Spend some time today reflecting while gazing upon the nativity.
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