I don’t think it’s any sort of exaggeration to say that we are living in some very confusing times.
Between the “new normal” of the pandemic, political tensions, riots, and media-touted gender and reproductive ideologies, it’s rare to live a day without some sort of stressor or anger-inducing blurb eating away the God-given peace of our hearts. Not only is the Church and Her true, holy, and good teachings mocked, distorted, and attacked; but also Her followers, Her families, and Her pastors, who have tried to navigate the turmoil of the world day by day over this past year. With the frenzy of society constantly stirring up a new hot topic to push, St. Bruno rightly warns us, “While the world changes, the Cross stands firm.”
And indeed, it does.
Pope Francis announced on December 8, 2020, that he was instituting the Year of St. Joseph. In a year full of the most bizarre of unknowns, we are given this soft call to run to St. Joseph – a man who himself lived a life of unknowns. From his betrothal to a pregnant Mary, to a flight to Egypt, to a life of raising the Savior as his own, St. Joseph’s upended life didn’t cause him anger or fear or disobedience, but a new trust and greater faith in the Lord. A faith that took this simple man and created him into the greatest saint next to his most holy wife, the protector of holy Mother Church, and the terror of demons.
Probably the most stunning quality this glorious saint possesses doesn’t lie in his fervent service, immense masculinity, or profound quotes (of which there are none). Instead, it is his pure humility.
Imagine being the protector of the Mother of God, the foster father of the Son of God, and relying each step of the way – without fault – on the direction of the Lord. The ability to trust it blindly, never waver from its path, and not for a moment believe that his way would be better.
It’s the perfect time to grow nearer to St. Joseph, to see the virtue of his masculinity, his ability to protect and serve the earliest of the Church that comprised of the Holy Family, and his unwavering obedience to the Lord. But that is all rendered useless if we don’t first admire his humility.
Humility keeps us focused on the true road ahead, the path to the one thing that is far greater than this world: eternal communion with God. Each day our pride is what separates us from the Lord – heated arguments, overbearing opinions, corrections dealt without charity, persecutions and libel. There’s a reason the Cross stands firm, because it transcends time, and so does its suffering. Jesus warned us of this – the road to the life awaiting us would never be easy. It should be no surprise that this is as true today as it was then – it should even be expected!
In the example of our good and holy foster father, may we draw ever nearer to St. Joseph. Through his most beautiful intercession, may we grow in humility and increase in charity. May the world never defeat us, but be inspired to follow us. May we have the grace to walk through this life in the light of the Lord, just as St. Joseph did.
Then Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.”
Matthew 16: 24