What About Us? Reflection on the Feast of St. Joseph

 

by Sister Ruth Stuckel                      

Joseph, in today’s [March 19] Gospel, gives us a glimpse into his profound love of God and sterling character by manifesting three important virtues: first  his Attitude of non-judgment; the second his Attentiveness, his deep listening; and the third his Action, fidelity in carrying out the task given to him.

The first virtue Joseph shows us is an attitude of non-judgment. When Joseph found out about Mary’s pregnancy, he planned to divorce Mary quietly so as to protect Mary from society’s laws and pressures. Joseph did not want Mary to be shamed!  He did not deny the fact: Mary was pregnant. But he was thinking of what would be best for Mary in her situation. He let go of his preferences. There is no blaming or accusation. Joseph’s attitude is non-judgmental.

What about us?

  • When we experience some slight, “She spoke to everyone, but ignored me. I am not going to reach out to her again!”
  • when we experience an unfairness, “I should have received that promotion or the accolade. I worked harder and contributed more than she did!  It’s not fair!”
  • when we are wrongly accused, is our first reaction to justify ourselves? “I did not do it!” And our second is to point out someone to blame.

Perhaps, later in prayer, we may be able to say with Jesus:  “Father, forgive her for she knows not what she does.”

Let us now pray that when we are slighted or wronged, our attitude may be non-judgmental.

St. Joseph, Pray for us!

The second virtue manifested by Joseph that is so essential to a relationship with God and to any relationship is ATTENTIVENESS: a deep listening to the other, to understand the other’s perspective.   

Joseph was told in a dream by an angel of Mary’s pregnancy by the   power of the Holy Spirit! Joseph listened intently; he did not question the angel’s message nor his own ability in understanding such an unbelievable message. He heard the revelation of God and knew it was meant for him. He took it seriously. He exercised the skill of truly listening: with his mind (he understood the facts), with his heart (he felt compassion for the other, namely, Mary) and with his will (he silently agreed – consenting to do God’s wishes). Joseph exercised attentiveness, a deep listening to the other, the angel.  

What about us?

  • Do we pay attention to our inspirations, our creative ideas, our inner feelings? Rather than angels speaking to us, God’s creative Spirit is within us and among us. God’s Spirit continues to  stimulate and inspire us on our journey.
  • Do we question ourselves, second-guess our ability, when we truly understand what the message is and what is expected of us?
  • Do we let fear prevent us from further considering the Spirit’s nudges? Out of respect for our freedom, God is gentle with us and often uses a light touch. Careful attention and deep listening are necessary to truly listen and discern God’s will.    

Perhaps, later in prayer, during our quiet moments, we will be attentive and receptive and hear God’s voice: “You are my beloved in whom I take delight.”

Let us now pray for the gift of attentiveness, a careful listening to the other. St. Joseph, pray for us!

The third and final character virtue of Joseph is Fidelity through Action: Joseph carried out the directive of the angel: “… he took Mary as his wife.”

What about us?

  • When we are given an inspiration to call, visit, or e-mail someone, do we follow through with an action?
  • When we get a creative idea to write an article, start a club, or initiate an activity, do we turn the idea into an action?
  • When we are invited to give a presentation, participate in a worthy cause, or become involved in a community activity, do we say, “Yes,” and then move in the direction to complete the task?

When inspired by God’s Spirit, Fidelity requires a doing not only the attentiveness for discernment.

Perhaps, later in life, we will know experientially the joy of being co-creators with God and we will realize that God who begins a good work in us will see it to completion.

Let us pray that we may be faithful in carrying out the inspirations of God’s creative Spirit.

St. Joseph, pray for us!    

In conclusion, by reflecting on Joseph’s life as presented in the brief Gospel story of today,

  • we are inspired to acquire a positive attitude of non-judgment,
  • we are encouraged to be attentive and listen carefully to our angel, God’s Holy Spirit and
  • we are given confidence and strength to serve faithfully God and God’s people.  

St. Joseph, pray for us.  

3/23/18

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