Saint Joseph is an especially big deal this year. Pope Francis announced almost two months ago that from December 8, 2020 until December 8, 2021 would be a year dedicated to Saint Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus Christ. The announcement coincides with the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church by Pope Pius IX with the document Quemadmodum Deus on December 8, 1870. The truth is of course that Saint Joseph is important all the time, but maybe ever more important now when our human frailty and mortality are so much in our minds and in the news. In this blog, I would like to mention a few characteristics that I’m asking Saint Joseph to help me with this year. I want to learn from him. Then, I will conclude by inviting you to join me in consecrating ourselves to Saint Joseph. You will not be disappointed as you will gain a powerful ally in heaven.
So, what do I hope to learn from Saint Joseph this year? First, I want to learn to listen better. I want to hear God’s voice better and then to really listen to the needs of my brothers and sisters around me. I’m often moving around so fast that I don’t take the time necessary to be a good listener. Most of you probably know that Joseph spoke no words in the Bible. We read about certain actions that he decided to take but never hear words directly from his mouth. I can just bet he was a good listener. He heard God’s voice who spoke to him in dreams. He listened and discerned well the needs of Mary. There is often a lot of words spoken on social media these days, but I get the sense that there is not a lot of listening going on. How often do we hear the voice of God in the midst of this noisy din? I would like to emulate Saint Joseph’s listening skills.
Second, I want to learn from Saint Joseph the gift of Trust. In our Holy Family Institute community, we talk a lot about trusting in God. One of our mantras is “Jesus, I Trust in You.” I invite a lot of people to trust in the Lord. But how good am I at doing it myself? I need to learn from St. Joseph. He trusted in God when things seemed impossible. He guided Jesus and Mary to a stable when there was no room for them in the inn. He guided Jesus and Mary to Egypt when his Son’s life was threatened. He was entrusted with the care and protection of the Holy Family because he in turn put all his trust in the Lord. I would like to emulate Saint Joseph’s trusting skills.
Lastly, I want to learn from Saint Joseph the gifts of poverty, chastity and obedience. Through the centuries, St. Joseph has often been depicted as an older, even elderly man. Depicting Saint Joseph as an older man tended to make people more comfortable with the fact that he and Mary never consummated their marriage, as Mary had made this vow of virginity to God. Instead, I stand with Venerable Fulton Sheen who said, “Joseph was probably a young man, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste and disciplined. He was not in the evening of life, but in its morning, bubbling over with energy, strength and controlled passion.” I want to learn from Saint Joseph and grow in these virtues.
Saint Joseph is an example of silent and selfless love. I know he has a lot to teach me. I imagine he has a lot to teach you.
I conclude with a plea. Will you join me from February 15 to March 19 of 2021 in doing a preparation for a Consecration to Saint Joseph? Doing it with a large group will be a great means of support. I will direct you to all the materials needed.
If you want to join us email us at Saintmarycambridge@gmail.com
I hope you will!
Fr. Michael Harrington, a native of Swampscott, MA, is a Catholic Priest for the Archdiocese of Boston, and Currently the Pastor of St. Mary’s of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Cambridge. In the past he served as The Director of the Office of Cultural Diversity for the Archidiocese of Boston and is currently a Consecrated member of the Institute of Jesus the Priest (the Pauline Family).