March 19, 2012

Joseph, Dearest

"Josef Lieber, Josef Mein" is technically a Christmas carol, but it was running through my head as I prepared to celebrate today's Feast of St. Joseph, and meditated on what Joseph means to me.  He means a lot to me; I've long considered him a special friend and patron.  He is the comforter of the dead; he is the provider of the Holy Family, and therefore a fitting patron for all fathers; he is the chaste spouse and protector of the Virgin Mary, and therefore the protector of all who seek to live a chaste life; he was "just," and he sought and followed the will of God, so he is a patron of all those who seek to be just, and live the will of God. And he is the special patron of all those seeking a good husband and seeking to be a good husband. And, after all this: he is also the patron of workers.  I most often pray to St. Joseph for help and diligence and discernment in and about my work.

"Joseph, Dearest Joseph mine,
Help me cradle the Child divine.
God reward thee and all that’s thine,
In paradise," so prays the mother Mary.

Today, after a very full, but in some ways very hard weekend, it is this quiet little lullaby that gives consolation and strength. I have been letting things slip. Important things. The things I care most about: being a good sister, good daughter, good niece, good godmother, good friend, good roommate. I've been letting them slip because all I see in front of me is the work that still needs to be done. My work is nothing to be shrugged off, either: it is a true duty, and one for which I am grateful. But because it is for the Church, it is easy to put it above all other things.

"Gladly dear one, Lady mine
Help I cradle this Child of thine."

I think of St. Joseph, who had all the cares of being a good carpenter, being faithful to the demands of his clients, and his colleagues, so that his work would prosper, so that he could provide for his family, put a roof over his head, feed the donkey, put food on the table and be a good husband, and a good father.  And when Mary asks, he sets aside those cares, sits down, and rocks the Christ to sleep.

"God’s own light on us both shall shine,
In paradise," as prays the mother Mary.

Icon: River Respite Benedictory

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