At this time of year, the spotlight rightly shines on Mary. Wives and mothers can easily relate to her story, especially to the feeling of having a tiny, beautiful, heaven-scented newborn and to the conviction that they would readily lay down their very lives for him or her. Mary also had something else I can relate to -- or someone else, I should say: Joseph! As my husband often laments, what about Joseph?
“chick-lit” novels, and television shows often paint men (fathers in particular)
as clueless, in dire need of being improved upon or changed, and only good for handing
over cash or credit cards. I have been
blessed in real life, however, as God gifted me with an awesome father and then
with a wonderful husband and subsequent father-in-law. I often cite my hubby as being a saint 95% of the
time. But, I’m guilty of still complaining
about the other 5% which mostly is comprised of absent mindedness, zero appreciation
for The Notebook and what I believe
to be feigned incompetence in loading the dishwasher. I do try very hard to be his helpmate and
number one cheerleader, but even so, he often and willingly takes a backseat to
everything that goes on in the life our little family.
Similarly, Good St. Joseph, unfortunately, seems to fade
into the background of the Holy Family. We hear year
after year about Mary’s, “Yes” to the Angel Gabriel, but what about Joseph’s
answers? If we take a close look at Joseph, there is much to learn from his trust,
patience, and whole-hearted submission to God’s plan for him. Joseph -- the quintessential “strong, silent type”
-- does not speak at all in the Gospels.
I would have to argue with my hubby that Joseph doesn’t need us to talk
about him; he wouldn’t care for all the hoopla.
But, the Gospel of Matthew does tell us a lot about Joseph and just how much he did indeed submit to.
Joseph receives multiple angelic messages
telling him to accept this, do that, go here, now go there, now do this. He follows all of these instructions, without
fail and without question. He follows
through with God’s plan for him often under dire circumstances and at times
completely against everything he had come to know thus far in his lifetime. Joseph seems satisfied with being told just
one step to take, and then simply trusting that he’d be told the next one in
due time. In the meantime, he fulfills
his duty of loving husband and father, all the while raising the Savior of the World
without complaint, well none that were documented apparently. He just does the right thing and he’s fine with it.
Most, if not all,
of the meaningful men in our lives are much like Joseph. We frazzled, stressed out, perfection–seeking,
what’s next on the to-do list, wives and mothers could learn a lot from the St.
Joseph’s in our midst. Amid the secular Christmas craziness, I ask
the Lord for the faith and patience of Joseph (or my husband, or my Dad, or my other Dad). To have just a bit of Joseph’s ability to
take on one task and to wait patiently for the next one (and the next one)
would ease my mind not only at Christmas, but all year round. If I had the ability to filter out the clutter
and patiently wait for instruction – would I listen to it? Would I say yes to
whatever was asked of me?
I often pray to be more like Mary; perhaps I need to
start praying to be more like Joseph as well.