Missionary Saints – St. Joseph

“Hey, I Know a Guy…”

This is the Year of Saint Joseph and this is the month when we typically honor him. So many beautiful reflections and books are available on Saint Joseph these days! One stated that Joseph would be the guy in Nazareth to go to if something in your house needed repaired or if you needed to expand your house to accommodate additional family members. Repairing what was broken and renovating to be able to accommodate more people is how Saint Joseph’s work was described. Missionaries repair and renovate, not necessarily structures but certainly hearts formed for God. The work of missionaries includes spiritual repair and renovation.

Mission is the movement of Trinitarian love from the transformation in love of the whole world. Missionaries participate in this action of God. The Father sends the Son and the Spirit, and the Son and Spirit send the Church to transform the world in and through Trinitarian love.

Saint Joseph knew the Trinity and experienced Trinitarian love. After Mary, Saint Joseph was the person who knew the Trinity best. As a member of the household of David and a devout Jew, Joseph would have committed the psalms to memory. He would have known God the Father in his study of the Torah, but most especially through his prayer life. He knew the Spirit. Scripture tells us that Joseph encountered the Spirit in his dreams and listened to the Spirit’s promptings. We can imagine the close friendship Joseph shared with the Spirit. It was through the Spirit that Jesus was conceived in Mary. It was through the Spirit that Joseph could understand who Jesus is and his role in Jesus’ life. And of course, Joseph knew Jesus. He knew what Jesus wanted and needed of him. Saint Joseph knew Jesus’ hopes and his hurts. Joseph loved Jesus and lived for Jesus. Joseph knew each person of the Blessed Trinity and he participated in the saving mission of the Triune God in a very real way. How might Saint Joseph help us to know the Trinity more intimately?

Saint Joseph’s whole life was directed so that you and I could come to know the love of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Everything he did was oriented toward that end. He used his mind and his muscle to provide for Mary and Jesus. His courage protected them. His wisdom guided them. His compassion comforted them. His righteousness served them. His love nurtured them. His total dedication to Mary and Jesus provides an example for us. How might our lives be ordered so that generations to come may know the mercy of God revealed in Jesus?

If the Church begins in Mary, then the Church is protected and provided for by Saint Joseph. As you look around the Church in these days, you may see some things in need of fixing. We might ask Saint Joseph to patch up the broken relationships in the Church; to repair the systems that do not communicate Christ; to mend processes so that everything leads to and flows from the Eucharist: to renovate our parishes so that Trinitarian love can be experienced and shared. If you ever feel discouraged or overwhelmed by the state of parish life – just remember you know a guy who can help!

Like the folks of Nazareth, call on Saint Joseph. Get to know the Trinity and Mary as Saint Joseph did. Participate in the Trinitarian mission to transform the world as an apprentice of Saint Joseph.