Joseph and Jesus, a Father's care

Joseph and Jesus, a Father’s care

We can imagine St. Joseph’s joy when hearing of Herod’s death. Now they can return home to family and friends. They can root their family life in the Jewish tradition and establish a stable trade. They can have a normal family life. Dutifully, he takes the child Jesus and Mary to the land of Israel. But this is not to be their home; fearing Archelaus, Herod’s son, St. Joseph listens to the guidance of an angel and they move again. This time to Nazareth in the district of Galilee. Finally, their wandering ends. Here the child Jesus grows in strength and wisdom as he learns the carpenter’s trade.

Over and over, St. Joseph obediently moves his family – protecting and caring for them – fully accepting his responsibility as spouse and father. How many times he must have knelt in prayer; beseeching the Father’s help and pleading for a permanent, safe home. Maybe by St. Joseph’s example, Jesus learned to seek a place of solitude for prayer. Psalm 31, which we sang in today’s celebration of the Holy Mass, may have been a psalm St. Joseph prayed often:

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, incline your ear to me, make haste to deliver me.
Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
Let your face shine on your servant; save me in your kindness.
Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the Lord. Ps 31: 2-3, 3-4, 17, 25

Are we in constant prayer with God? To know the Father’s will, we have to be in dialogue. Jesus Christ shows us by his life that we need to pray. It was part of his life to seek solitude for prayer, to pray constantly, and to lead his disciples to prayer. Let us pray for each other as we discern how to live out our love of Christ and respond to the Father’s will.

O glorious St. Joseph, how you must have marveled at the child Jesus learning to pray by your side. You show us the necessity for constant prayer and the grace that is given for each part of our journey of faith in love. Following your example of obedience and trust, may we freely and generously go where the Father’s will calls us.

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

st.joseph and older jesus

We may ask ourselves: ‘What is God calling me to do with this life He has given me? How should I serve Him?’ At some point, the question may become more specific: ‘Am I called to consecrated life?’ Here is when we wonder if we can leave our current way of life and take a step of faith into the unknown, placing all our trust in God. St. Joseph shows us that God will provide whatever we need for the journey He places before us. In his sleep, the angel tells Joseph to ‘take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt and remain there until I tell you to return’. So Joseph goes where the Lord directs him, leaving behind the familiar, friends, work, home – all but the child Jesus and Mary.

In Matthew’s gospel, we hear Jesus say: “Do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on it…your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Mt 6:25, 32b-33) In His words, Jesus tells us what Joseph knew in his heart.

A ‘yes’ to consecrated life is that step of faith into a land unknown, but in the company of our Lord Jesus and Mary, the Mother of Divine Hope. St. Joseph shows us how to trust. And we have Jesus’ assurance that our Father will care for our needs.

O St. Joseph, head of the Holy Family, your faith encourages us to believe that all things are possible with God. Placing all your hope in Him, you set aside the normal family life and moved in haste to an unknown land. Pray for us, St. Joseph, that we may have the courage to respond to God’s call with boldness and confidence.

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
particularly as we discern our chosen-ness.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Joseph names his son Jesus.

Joseph names his son Jesus.

The third devotion of St. Joseph is anchored in this passage from Sacred Scripture:

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Lk2:21)

I pray that we will be inspired by St. Joseph’s fidelity and humility. St. Joseph fulfills his first religious obligation and has his son circumcised. Thus God’s covenant with Abraham is fully realized in Jesus, through the faithfulness of Joseph. The Divine Plan of Salvation is held in the work-worn, calloused hands of Joseph, a righteous simple man who gives honor to the law and to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph.

The Hope of the world, just 8 days old, is given the name Jesus; “the name above every other name” (Phil 2:9b). In giving this name, Joseph declares his legal fatherhood and proclaims Jesus’ mission: “You shall call the child Jesus for he will save his people from their sins”. (Mt 1:21)

By virtue of his faithfulness, Joseph holds in his hands the Savior of the world. Through this righteous man’s fidelity, the Savior of the world is placed in our hands every time we receive the Sacred Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. St. Joseph’s decision to follow God’s will leads to our partaking of the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Will our lives lead others to know God’s life-saving Hope?

O humble spouse of Mary, who faithfully obeyed the law of God, by your inspiration, may we receive the grace to respond to God’s call with fidelity and confidence. We place our hands at the service of Hope and our trust in the Holy Name of Jesus, at which ‘every knee shall bend, in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God, Jesus Christ is Lord’. (Phil 2:10)

Pray for us, blessed St. Joseph,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Almighty God,
In your infinite wisdom and love
you chose Joseph to be the husband of Mary,
the mother of your Son.
As we enjoy his protection on earth,
may we have the help of his prayers in heaven,
that we may be freed from all sin and die rejoicing with
the holy name of Jesus in our hearts and on our lips.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Watch

December 3, 2012

“And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch.” (Mk 13:37)

A small child is fascinated with the world around him.  He is curious about every object he sees and repeats every word he hears; alert to the sights, sounds and smells that fill the day. With high energy, he grasps at each new wonder that captivates his mind.  In the midst of the constant attentiveness to this new world, he suddenly stops. He goes to the front door and, placing his tiny face to the glass, he stands still, waits and watches.  All that the world offers around him is no longer of importance.  He turns his back to his immediate world, ignoring even the voices around him as he stands silently looking out, tense with anticipation, watching and waiting; no coaxing can draw him back from his sentinel urge.

Suddenly the person he waits for appears, dancing up and down with joy, he calls out ‘Daddy’.  Arms outstretched, he shrieks with glee as he is lifted up into an embrace full of love, security, and warmth.  His watching is rewarded with the presence of the one he loves. His joy is complete and full in a way that his toys and daily preoccupations can never produce.  He inherently knows that it is the person he loves and trusts and the person who loves and cares for him that brings the deepest joy.

Can we follow the example of this child and turn our attention away from the distractions of the world, as attractive as they might be, and place ourselves where we can be watchful? Can we turn our gaze away from the latest ‘gadget’ and silently wait and watch for the face of the One who loves us fully and faithfully?  Simply, can we turn off the television, walk away from the internet, postpone the texting, and ignore the barrage of ads that promise happiness in the ‘greatest whatever’ – to be still, to be silent, to be watchful for the coming of Christ?

The child knows it is the presence of the loved one that is the most important and nothing will distract this faithful young sentinel from watching at the door.  It is the appearance of ‘Daddy’ that breaks the silence and draws forth the shouts of joy.  In this season of Advent, let us learn what this child knows; let us wait at the door of our hearts: “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house will come.” (Mk 13:35a)

Marana tha,

aspirants and advent 005

Persevere in Hope

November 8, 2012

There are many ways to interpret the results of yesterday’s election.  Our federal government administration has worked openly and unashamedly for the culture of death; through its pro-abortion support and advocacy, same-sex union support, and the rationing of healthcare services under Obamacare, just to name a few examples.  Plus, they have overtly misused the power of office to attempt to silence voices to the contrary by their assault on religious freedom. A majority of voters have spoken that they are in favor of this government leadership philosophy.   How easy it would be for those who fight for life and religious freedom to become discouraged; but this we must not do.

As people of faith, we persevere in hope, for we know there is a loving omnipotent Power and Authority, whose ways are not our ways and who has promised to be with us until the end of the age.  So let us be renewed in commitment to be faithful to the gospel of life and proclaim life and freedom without ceasing.  Let us find in these recent events the zeal and fervor to tirelessly work to eradicate this culture of death.  With the help of God’s grace, let us be a hopeful people, working to reestablish the culture of life.  Let us pray for our Lord to bring about the conversion of hearts of all elected and appointed officials that they will strive to work for the dignity of all human persons.  Let us pray for all who voted contrary to life, that they may be open to the grace of conversion and seek to promote a culture in which life is welcomed, embraced, nurtured and sustained in freedom.

We are not alone, nor are we asked to stand up for life in isolation.  We are the Body of Christ and a part of the communion of saints.  We hear St. Paul’s words today just as they were given to the early church:  Now hope that is seen is not hope.  For who hopes for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.  Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him. (Rom 8: 24b-26, 28a)

The Blessed Virgin Mary is a wonderful model of hope, trust and courage.  As patroness of the United States under her title of Immaculate Conception, we can look to her for encouragement.  Imagine a young pregnant woman, traveling in response to a government edict, who gives birth to a son in a manger and then flees to a foreign country to protect the life of her son.  Then when her son is grown, she stands by him as he is falsely accused, publicly ridiculed, beaten, whipped, spat upon, and crucified.  In her we can see the potential for each one of us to be faithful, to be courageous, to be trusting, to be hope-filled.  Mary, Mother of Divine Hope, pray for us that we may persevere in hope, diligently work to reestablish a culture of life in our nation, and faithfully proclaim the truth of the Gospel of life. Pray that your son, our Lord Jesus Christ, will grant his mercy upon us and send his Spirit to bring about the conversion of hearts for those who hold public office and set public policy.  Amen.

In his recent weekly column, Archbishop Charles Chaput, spoke of public witness and Catholic citizenship.  This is obviously timely and well-placed right before early voting begins in our nation.  He ends his column with this encouragement: “In the end, the heart of truly faithful citizenship is this: We’re better citizens when we’re more faithful Catholics. The more authentically Catholic we are in our lives, choices, actions and convictions, the more truly we will contribute to the moral and political life of our nation.”  The whole column is relatively brief and worthy of a few minutes to read it fully. It can be found at: http://catholicphilly.com/2012/10/archbishop-chaput/weekly-message-from-archbishop-chaput/public-witness-and-catholic-citizenship/

In his column, although highlighting the upcoming important election, he reminds us that being Catholic is a way of life, not just a position on a political issue or candidate.  Our faith calls us to transform the world, to ‘go and make disciples’ by making Jesus Christ known wherever we work and live.  This is particularly true of the lay faithful.  In this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us of the richness of our Catholic faith found in the documents of Vatican II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In the Decree On The Apostolate Of The Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem, solemnly promulgated by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, on November 18, 1965, we read: A vast field for the apostolate has opened up on the national and international levels where the laity especially assist with their Christian wisdom. In loyalty to their country and in faithful fulfillment of their civic obligations, Catholics should feel themselves obliged to promote the true common good. Thus they should make the weight of their opinion felt in order that the civil authority may act with justice and that legislation may conform to moral precepts and the common good. Catholics skilled in public affairs and adequately enlightened in faith and Christian doctrine should not refuse to administer public affairs since by doing this in a worthy manner they can both further the common good and at the same time prepare the way for the Gospel. 50 years ago, the Council Fathers began the encouragement of the laity’s involvement in the public square, telling us that this is our call to service of Christ and His church.   In this Year of Faith, let us prayerfully study our faith, renew our baptismal commitment and be salt of the earth.

 

 

 

More on Year of Faith:  http://www.vatican.va/special/annus_fidei/index_en.htm

http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/new-evangelization/year-of-faith/

http://www.dioceseoftyler.org/newsletter.php?id=4

 

 

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” (Eccle 3:1)  Please enjoy our newsletter for the third quarter of 2012:

beauty in the convent rose garden

I have discovered that the saying ‘lazy days of summer’ does not apply to a nascent religious community!  Our Lord has been lovingly generous to us in providing opportunities to serve Him and His Holy Church during this third quarter of the Year of Grace 2012.  In August we began celebrating a monthly Mass for priests who have ordination anniversaries or birthdays in that particular month.  (See here for the remainder of the newsletter: http://www.daughtersofdivinehope.org/sept2012newsletter.pdf )

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to your name, Most High.  To proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness in the night.  For you make me jubilant, Lord, by your deeds; at the works of your hands I shout for joy.  How great are your works, Lord! How profound your purpose!” (Ps 92: 2-3, 5-6)

Dear Friends in Christ, it is with great happiness I share with you the past six months of the Daughters of Divine Hope.  One of the many joys in establishing this new community is the beginning of tradition.  On January 4 and 5, we celebrate the feast days of two of our patrons, Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton and Saint Bishop John Neumann…… (newsletter found here:  http://www.daughtersofdivinehope.org/newsletter.pdf )

 

Fortitude for Freedom

July 6, 2012

Trumph of Fortitude and Sapiency
Giovanni Battista Tieplo

Fortitude assures firmness in difficulties and constancy in the pursuit of the good.  It reaches even to the ability of possibly sacrificing one’s own life for a just cause. [1]

We have ended the Fortnight for Freedom, but not our vigil for the reestablishment of the religious freedom which is a foundational principle of this young nation.   We have before us a great challenge that calls for fortitude.  With an attitude or posture of fortitude, we can remain committed to this just cause, for the sake of the life of each human person.  Let our resolve not wane, our zeal dissipate or our quest for justice falter, by the help of God’s grace.  Let us remember that we are the church, the people of faith, and to us is the call to build a society upon the gospel and that God will give us what we need to live this call.  May we find encouragement in the following words of Pope Benedict XVI:

Moral Force  (daily reflection found on July 5) [2]

“It is becoming ever clearer that only moral values and strong convictions, and sacrifices, make it possible to live and to build the world. It is impossible to construct it in a mechanical way…if there is no moral force in souls, if there is no readiness to suffer for these values, a better world is not built; indeed, on the contrary, the world deteriorates every day, selfishness dominates and destroys all. On perceiving this the question arises anew: but where does the strength come from that enables us to suffer for good too, to suffer for good that hurts me first, which has no immediate usefulness? Where are the resources, the sources? From where does the strength come to preserve these values? It can be seen that morality as such does not survive and is not effective unless it is deeply rooted in convictions that truly provide certainty and the strength to suffer for – at the same time, they are part of love – a love that grows in suffering and is the substance of life. In the end, in fact, love alone enables us to live, and love is always also suffering: it matures in suffering and provides the strength to suffer for good without taking oneself into account at the actual moment. “

Let us pray:

O God, in the covenant of your Christ you never cease to gather to yourself from all nations a people growing together in unity through the Spirit; grant, we pray, that your Church, faithful to the mission entrusted to her, may continually go forward with the human family and always be the leaven and the soul of human society, to renew it in Christ and transform it into the family of God.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.  (Collect, Mass for the Holy Church, Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition)

 

 


[1] Compendium, Catechism of the Catholic Church, USCCB Publishing, 2006, #382.

[2] Pope Benedict XVI, Benedictus, Ignatius Press, 2006, p208.

 

‘The Lord is king; let the earth rejoice; let the many isles be glad.  The heavens proclaim God’s justice; all peoples see his glory.” (Ps 97: 1,6) (Readings for June 21, Thursday, 11th week ordinary time)

We begin the Fortnight for Freedom with a call to rejoice!  Our Lord is king; let the earth rejoice! Our Lord is king!  a battle-cry of justice that fills our hearts with holy zeal, hope and the courage to persevere.  Justice and liberty are soul mates residing in charity.  Our Lord’s justice prevails and in his justice he endows us with liberty so we may freely respond to his love.  God so loved us that he created us in his image; this is the source of our freedom.  Our liberty resides in our human dignity which comes from our being created by God.  God created us in love and for love.  Therefore, he gives us freedom to respond to this love and justice requires that we freely do so.  We rejoice because we know that our liberty is given to us by God and that his justice will prevail. This gives us hope to make difficult choices when our liberty and the ability to respond in love are threatened.

Today is the memorial of St. Aloysius Gonzaga.  Born in 1568 to Italian nobility, he chose to freely give up his birthright to enter into the Society of Jesus.  He professed vows in 1587 at the age of 19.  In 1591, plague broke out and he chose to care for the poor who were dying from this terrifying disease. He succumbed to the plague this year at the age of 23.  This is the love that freely responds to the love of God.  By his example, we are inspired to follow our conscience and we are reminded of the people throughout the history of the Catholic Church who have chosen to care for the poor, the sick, the vulnerable, and the marginalized. http://www.ewtn.com/saintsHoly/saints/A/staloysiusgonzaga.asp

We are called together in these fourteen days to be one in prayer, fasting and almsgiving in defense of our religious liberty.  We are called to be one in heart speaking up for those who are poor, sick, vulnerable and marginalized.  Let us today pray for our nation and for us that we may rightfully defend the dignity of every human person.

“He who wishes to love God does not truly love Him if he has not an ardent and constant desire to suffer for His sake.” (St. Aloysius Gonzaga)

Today we pray for the Overturning of the HHS Mandate

Thursday June 21 – St. Aloysius Gonzaga

Almighty God we humbly bow before You, Who are all powerful. We turn to You in this hour of great need, full of faith and with great confidence in You Who can do all things. Through the intercession of St. Aloysius of Gonzaga, who lived the virtue of purity in a remarkable way, we ask you to overturn the HHS Mandate which is now law and which forces all Catholic Institutions to pay for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Deliver us, O Lord, from all evil. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. http://www.religiousliberties.org/prayers.asp