Wednesday, March 19, 2014

St. Joseph's Day

When I was growing up, it seems like St. Patrick's Day and St. Joseph's Day were feasts in competition with each other. Not sure it was ever clear as to why. What I recall is the feeling.

St. Joseph ~ the human father-figure in the life of Jesus ~ is so incredibly much of an unknown figure. What I like about this particular picture is that he's not an old man. I think he was pictured so often as an old man so the Catholics could continue to believe in the virginity of Mary. Why would she ever want to be intimate with that old codger? Hmmmm. I'm guessing they didn't think about the attraction of a young, nubile woman for some old men.

But I blaspheme..... Picturing him as an old man gave me pause in thinking about him as a carpenter, particularly one who could make a living at such a physical trade. Everything done by hand, using a variety of tools, with a variety of woods. As a child, I dreamt of Joseph teaching the young Jesus to work with wood... hand over hand, showing him how to be firm and gentle with the wood, how to coax form from it. I believe that helped form his steadfastness in his ministry.

As I continue on my path of Practicing Lent, I focus on who this man Joseph was ~ who raised a son as his own when he knew he wasn't; who remained by the side of a woman whose reputation he questioned at one point; who believed in and followed the advice given in dreams; who was quiet and strong; and about whom we know so very, very little. May I be that strong, giving and humble.

Who are the saints in your life? What have they taught you? How is your life different for their presence in it?

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