As I am in the remaining few weeks of Lent where he is purifying my heart, I want to honor St. Joseph, my saint buddy who is helping me see God’s goodness working in my life. I am in awe with his surrender to God’s will and his trust and confidence in what he heard. Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Mary during this Year of St. Joseph designated by Pope Francis.
I was fortunate growing up that I had a father who was my knight in shining armor. It makes me sad that other daughters do not have this type of relationship with their earthly fathers.
Despite the circumstances in which I was conceived, my father was a man of integrity and did the right thing by marrying my mother when she became pregnant with me. I can only imagine how St. Joseph felt, trying to decide if he should marry his fiancé Mary who became pregnant through the Immaculate Conception. After his internal struggle and receiving God’s assurance, he was confident he was called to marry Mary and became foster father of Jesus.
My parents’ marriage did not last long because of my mother’s drinking. It was fortunate that she was able to stop actively drinking when she was pregnant with me, but the disease took over again after I was born. While parts of my early years are still a mystery, I am sure I felt confused and abandoned at times, along with feeling secure and loved at other times. Although my mother was not able to care for me, my grandparents stepped in and my father was there until he was able to get custody of me. He stood by in love. Steady like St. Joseph.
My father was a star defensive tackle at Notre Dame who could have gone pro until he injured his knee. Instead, he worked hard digging ditches and owning a janitorial cleaning service while learning the oil business, his ultimate career. He was a smart, hard worker and a good provider, just like St. Joseph.
Although not actively religious, my father was a man of deep faith. He instilled in me the one true Catholic faith. He defended the pope when my protestant stepmother accused him of not being Christian. He bore fruits of the spirit like kindness and generosity. He built up my faith by his words and his actions just like St. Joseph.
My earthly father was far from perfect, but I know he did his best with the cards he was dealt and came from a place of love.
I am blessed to have had such a father who modeled for me on earth what our heavenly Father might look like. He always aimed for goodness but often missed the mark as we all do, twisted by our sin. He was human, but regularly pointed toward Jesus as the bridge, to our divine Father in heaven.
As I sit with St Joseph this year, I am learning. Learning things like how he was the guardian of the Virgin Mary, a foster father to the Son of God, a diligent protector, most just, chaste, prudent, strong, obedient, faithful, patient, pillar of the family, and a terror of demons to name a few. As we walk through this year of St. Joseph, I invite you to let him inspire the goodness in you and want to share a few ideas to help in your journey:
Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
As we honor St. Joseph today, I hope you get to know him in a deeper way and allow him to point you towards God’s goodness.