I was in my car and on the road at 6:17 this morning, traveling to participate in the 6:45 liturgical celebration of St. Joseph’s feast day with my friends, Florence and Anne. Rarely would I be up and out that early but it is Florence’s 60th anniversary in the Sisters of St. Joseph and she has been friend, sister and mentor to me for 47 years now, so the early call was certainly worth the trip. (The raspberry scones and coffee that followed were an added treat as well!)
When there is conversation about St. Joseph, the introductory sentence most often goes something like this: “We don’t know much about Joseph, except that he was a just man, the husband of Mary and (foster) father of Jesus.” I was thinking about this during the liturgy this morning as Father Charles elaborated a bit about Joseph’s character as a devoted husband and father.
The deep feeling of love and respect for Joseph, not only of Sisters of St. Joseph but people the world over, speaks to me of the power and value of communal reflection. Stories of Joseph, prayers said to him, and reports of “favors” granted because of faith in his intercession with God have been a part of Christian tradition since the beginning. What I have learned and loved most about this man from it all is the clear sense of his silence. Joseph spoke no word that is related in Scripture but the stories told about him – his fidelity to Mary and Jesus, his obedience to the messages that allowed him to keep them safe, and his trust in God permeate the early chapters of Matthew and Luke, convincing me of his deep listening and contemplation.
In this world of noise and hurry we would do well to pause and be grateful for such a model of interiority, respect and care. May today include that moment and a blessing for Sisters of St. Joseph everywhere!