Inviting St. Joseph to be with us in times of struggle and uncertainty

I admit to feeling a little bit weary of late.  Part of it is the fact that post-yucky-cold-thing, my asthma is still acting up a bit.  Part of it is recovering my energy after putting lots of focus into end of term assignments.  Part of it is facing the reality of my gigantic to-do list.  And part of it is simply our wounded and broken world.

My guess is that today, with the latest news of a tragic violent act and the innocent death of school children, on top of news of tragic violent acts daily all over the world, I may not be the only one feeling a bit weary.

Given our general state of weariness and the fact that it's Advent, I'd like to suggest spending some time with Joseph.  You know, that Joseph.  Husband of Mary.  The faithful one who flew in the face of societal convention and stuck with Mary, believing her story, trusting in God.  The one who helped raise Jesus, fled with his family into Egypt for his safety, taught him some useful life skills, and looked for him when he was lost.  And that's just what made it into the recorded story.

Despite his key role in our Christian story, most of us tend to forget Joseph when it comes to Advent and Christmas.  Fr. James Martin wrote a great article to that effect on slate.com a few years back which I rediscovered recently via Facebook.  It's worth a read.

Yesterday morning during my prayer time, my weariness reared its head. And then, looking at my icon of St. Joseph of Peace,  I remembered this line from the Constitutions of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace.

From the beginning of the congregation
Joseph was chosen as our patron
because he is a model of peace.
His courage to live a life of faith
inspires us to trust in God's abiding love
especially in times of struggle and uncertainty. (CSJP Constitution 36).

We certainly live in times of struggle and uncertainty on a grand scale, and each of us in our own lives may also face certain struggles and weariness from time to time.

And so did Joseph.  I'm spending some special time walking with Joseph these days, and invite you to do the same.

Margaret Anna Cusack, the founder of my religious community, wrote of Joseph: "No doubt we may point to St. Joseph as the great model of every virtue, but it would seem as if peace was his crowning grace."  Hence, she chose Joseph as the patron for her new religious community, St. Joseph's Sisters of Peace.  We all need peace in our lives, in our world, in our hearts.

Please join me in asking St. Joseph, model of peace, to pray for peace in our violent world.  That we may welcome the light of Christ into our hearts.  That we may trust in God's faithful love in times of uncertainty and be beacons of hope in times of anxiety.  That we may grow together in love and participate in the in-breaking of love and compassion into our weary world.  St. Joseph, pray for us.

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