View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pope John Paul II and St. Joseph

This year I have set more spiritual reading as one of my goals. Thanks to Moneybags, I’ve been assigned St. Joseph as my special saint for the year, so it seems natural that I would devote some of that reading to him.

As I looked into St. Joseph, I discovered that Pope John Paul II had written about him in Redemptoris Custos - Guardian of the Redeemer – in 1989 (http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/stj01003.htm).

I will be reading that.

Meanwhile, Pope John Paul II later issued the following in a general audience on the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Wednesday, 19 March 2003.

St Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church

1. Today we are celebrating the Solemnity of St Joseph, the Husband of Mary (Mt 1,24; Lk 1,27). Scripture points him out to us as the "father" of Jesus (Lk 2,27.33.41.43.48), prepared to carry out the divine plan, even when it eluded human understanding. To him, "son of David" (Mt 1,20; Lk 1,27), God entrusted the safekeeping of the Eternal Word, made man by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. St Joseph is described in the Gospel as a "just man" (Mt 1,19), and for all believers he is a model of life in faith.

2. The word "just" evokes his moral rectitude, his sincere attachment to the practice of the law and his attitude of total openness to the will of the heavenly Father. Even in difficult and sometimes tragic moments, the humble carpenter of Nazareth never claimed for himself the right to dispute God's plan. He awaited the call from on High and in silence respected the mystery, letting himself be guided by the Lord. Once he received the mission, he fulfils it with docile responsibility. He listens attentively to the angel, when he is asked to take as his wife the Virgin of Nazareth (cf. Mt 1,18-25), in the flight into Egypt (cf. Mt 2,13-15) and in the return to Israel (cf. ibid., 2,19-23). In few, but significant strokes, the Evangelists describe him as the caring guardian of Jesus, an attentive and faithful husband, who exercises his family authority in a constant attitude of service.

Nothing else is said about him in the Sacred Scriptures, but this silence contains the special style of his mission: a life lived in the greyness of everyday life, but with steadfast faith in Providence.

3. Every day St Joseph had to provide for the family's needs with hard manual work. Thus the Church rightly points to him as the patron of workers.

Today's solemnity is also a wonderful occasion to reflect on the importance of work in the life of the human person, the family and the community.

The human being is the subject and the primary agent of work, and in the light of this truth, we can clearly perceive the fundamental connection between the person, work and society. Human activity - the Second Vatican Council recalls - proceeds from the human person and is ordered to the person. According to God's design and will, it must serve the true good of humanity and allow "man as an individual and as a member of society to cultivate and carry out his integral vocation" (cf.
Gaudium et spes, n. 35).
In order to fulfil this mission, a "tested spirituality of human work" must be cultivated that is firmly rooted in the "Gospel of work" and believers are called to proclaim and to witness to the Christian meaning of work in their many activities and occupations (cf.
Laborem exercens, n. 26).

4. May St Joseph, such a great and humble saint be an example that inspires Christian workers, who should call on him in every circumstance. Today I wish to entrust to the provident guardian of the Holy Family of Nazareth the young people who are training for their future profession, the unemployed, and those who are suffering from the hardship of the shortage of employment, families and the whole world of work, with the expectations and challenges, the problems and prospects that characterize it.

May St Joseph, the Patron of the universal Church, watch over the entire ecclesial community and, as the man of peace that he was, may he obtain for all humanity, especially for the peoples threatened at this time by war, the precious gift of harmony and peace.”

3 Comments:

Blogger Julie D. said...

When I saw that you wanted to read more about St. Joseph, I thought about this book that has been on my reading list for a while, "Not Your Average Joe."
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0974396249/qid=1136750046/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/103-7966386-8409447?s=books&v=glance&n=283155

It may not be the type of reading you have in mind but I thought I'd pass it on.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Thanks. I'll look it up

7:36 PM  
Blogger Moneybags said...

I love your posts on St. Joseph. I'm actually touched that you have posted so much on your patron saint for 2006. I have certainly prayed that all my work in the Saint for the Year project would be worth something.

And, by the way, great pictures posted. It looks great!

10:30 PM  

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