August 27, 2012
Contributed by guest writer Natasha

St. Therese of Lesieux
We Catholics have a practice peculiar to ourselves – a devotion to the Saints. Personally, I don’t even want to imagine how lonely my life would feel without the Saints, many of whom feel much more like wise and resourceful grandparents then distant or untouchable beings far away in a misty cloud of piety. I call on St. Jude, for instance, almost hourly - feeling myself, as I do, to be a hopeless case! St. Anthony saves my neck more often than I can recount. St. Therese of Lesieux gives me encouragement to find the simplest way and reminds me that ‘simple’ means neither ‘easy’ nor ‘simplistic’! Her parents also encourage me to call forth holiness in myself and my children. St. Monica – who tippled more than was necessary – helps me to remember that I need to depend on God’s grace more and my own abilities less. And, hey, her son turned out pretty good!

The one saint, however, that I believe I really could NOT live without, who is as dear to me as anyone I’ve ever loved, who in my affections comes so closely on the heels of Our Lord that I don’t often think of one without the shadow of the other being present, is St. Joseph.

Catholics take from their Jewish elder brothers a deep love and devotion to the awesomeness of fatherhood. All life comes through the Father. God Himself showed us how dear the role of the Father is by choosing the most exceptional of men to be the spouse of his Beloved Mother and His own much loved Foster Father here on earth. Jesus’ Father is THE FATHER – creator of ALL THINGS. And He chose Joseph – out of all men out of all time. You could spend a lifetime meditating on that alone. If I were able to compose music, I would compose a symphony to St. Joseph. 

My devotion to St. Joseph came to me from my parents, both of whom have loved the great saint deeply. My mother gave me a small but deeply moving and profound book about him. That book was much like Joseph himself – small, humble, simple and packed with treasures.

Through my love for Joseph, I adopted in my life something we called “The St. Joseph Principle”. That is – give your life to God as completely as you are able, do what is just and right in God’s law, do all that is humanly possible first and then allow the miraculous to happen.

Joseph – when faced with the problem of an inexplicably pregnant Mary, found what was the just and right answer (to set her aside quietly) and only then did the angel appear to him and reveal to him what God’s plan was. And while I’m sure he was mystified, he was obedient. Of course, we all reap the fruit of Joseph’s decision!

There is nothing complicated about St. Joseph’s way. Know God’s ways by studying scripture and the law, knowing God’s heart which is always just and merciful. Do all that you humanly can do and then allow God to perform a miracle if He chooses. Of course, this means cultivating our senses, our mind and our hearts to see these miracles when they happen and to practice gratitude for them.

I knew a priest once who said that he was bothered when people “prayed for a good parking spot.” Surely God had given you a brain to handle such things and surely He had bigger fish to fry?

That answer saddened me. Yes, God wants us to use our brains, and we had better be hale enough to not lose our faith if we end up walking a country mile to the mall. However, I believe God does want us to pray for even something as seemingly insignificant as a parking space. I believe that because we are meant to be like children. Do you have children or intimately know any young children? I ask you, do children do anything OTHER than ask for everything under the moon?
Just like children, I believe we need to be bold and ask for everything. We need to do so because God wants to teach us two things:

1. He can do the impossible and create something good of even the worst situations (a job in the midst of an economic depression) and He cares even for the trivial (a parking space at the mall.)

2. He wants us to learn to praise Him when He answers and praise Him when He doesn’t. It builds up our faith to ask for everything and seemingly receive nothing. Just like children must toughen up and learn that even when we hear “no” we are provided for and are loved, we must learn to trust that God loves us and cares for us even when we don’t get what we asked for. If we cultivate this spirit of trust and thankfulness, we begin to see the work God is doing even when we don’t ask! The more we ask, the more we receive when we ask with an expectant faith that is willing to hear and accept a “no” for an answer.

**To be continued...

1 comment:

  1. I have a great love for St. Joseph. Like any loving father, he is always ready to go to work on our behalf. I appreciate his quiet example of being obedient, and then just getting on with things.

    ReplyDelete

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