Tag Archives: St. Joseph

Challenges of a Foster-Father

Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker. He is so special as the Foster-Father of Jesus that he is the only saint that has two feast days– March 19 and May 1. Of course, the Blessed Virgin Mary has a whole host of feast days, but most saints just have one.

I have been seeking to understand the Holy Family more deeply–how they lived, what example they provided for every family, and specifically, what role St. Joseph played in raising the Son of God and living as spouse with the Mother of God.

I am pretty certain of a few things:

1. St. Joseph was humble. Everything about this man speaks of humility. He was a carpenter who provided for himself, then his family by the work of his hand and the sweat of his brow. Although he descended from the kingly line of Judah, he was content to work for his living.

2. St. Joseph was pure. When he discovered that his fiancée was with child, he knew the child was not his. But he also knew that Mary was not the type of girl to cause this to happen. He cared deeply for others and that’s why he was willing to quietly divorce her without fully understanding why or how this came to be. He didn’t worry about himself or his reputation first. His intentions were pure. That’s why God sent an angel to help him understand more deeply.

3. St. Joseph was receptive. When angels came to him in dreams with warnings or clarifications, he listened. It doesn’t mention that he argued back with them. He was open to hearing from God in this way. Also, we have no quotes from St. Joseph. He is silent in the Gospels. His thoughts and prayers were saved for God alone.

4. St. Joseph was faithful. His response to all requests from God (and most likely the Blessed Virgin) was immediate action. That takes tremendous faith! Again, we hear no account of St. Joseph questioning God or the angel-messengers. He took action. If you want to see how to put your faith into action, simply follow the example of the life of St. Joseph.

St. Joseph lived a simple yet faith-filled life. He ordered his entire life around God, and more specifically His Son and the Mother of His Son. He had the same responsibilities of fathers today–to provide for their families. He didn’t always have it easy, especially as an immigrant in Egypt! But he walked by faith and humbly accepted his role in the Holy Family. St. Joseph, Patron of Families, Pray for Us!

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Being a helpmate of my husband

Being the head of the household must be a challenging job, especially when you have a wife like me. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul makes it clear that just as Christ is the head of the Church, and we are the body, so the husband is the head of the wife. Of course, many people overlook the next verse of this important message. To sum up, Christ loved his Church so much, that he gave his life for them.

I think my husband is much like Christ. He works hard every day at a job that doesn’t necessarily give him warm fuzzies and is surrounded by a materialistic, worldly, self-interested group of people. But he continues and perseveres, always doing the right and honest thing, even if it hurts his paycheck or chances of promotion because he is a man of integrity. That’s why I married him and I hope and pray that never changes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. He grumbles and stresses and worries. He is not perfect, nor am I. At times, he thinks that I am trying to run the show. Honestly, both of us have issues with trying to run our own game plan instead of listening to God’s plan for our life together. So instead of turning to God, we sometimes are like two people in a tug-of-war, feeling as if one or the other is winning or getting their way. God must be looking down at us and just shaking His head. I know how I feel as a parent when my children behave this way, and God loves us more than a parent loves a son or daughter, but I am certain at times He must be amazed at how we choose to use our free will.

A dear friend of mine shared some insight into the life of the Holy Family. I have developed a devotion to St. Joseph because he lived with two people who were like no other on earth, and had the responsibility of being the head of their household. My friend shared that although the Blessed Virgin Mary was without sin, she still deferred to St. Joseph as the head of the household. This made me stop in my tracks. It is making me take a long, hard look at myself and my willingness to serve and be subject to other. I fully understand that marriage is a mutual self-giving, a communion of persons. I just had not realized how much my own pride and will get in the way of fulfilling that ideal of marriage. I need to let go of my plans, listen to God more, and be the helpmate to my husband I am meant to be. Sometimes, this will be a giving up of self and of control. I really don’t like the thought of having to do this, but I will do it out of love.

Husband, Father, Superman?

My husband has taught me a lot about  being a good father. I remember the years when I was home with toddlers and babies all day long. My husband would walk through the door after work and I would basically hand off our children to him. I had no more energy or ability to cope. I didn’t always remember to stop and ask how his day went. Never mind that he had experienced a harrowing day at the office with co-workers who were more worried about their pocketbook than their souls.

But my husband always stepped right in and never complained. He changed diapers. He fed bottles. He gave baths. He played with our children. He made meals for them. Really, he did just about everything, even if it was uncomfortable at first.

Lest you think that he is Superman, I must share that when our first child was born, my husband didn’t sleep for three months. It was not because my husband was up in the night with feedings either. In fact, I had no idea this was going on. I thought I was the only one with odd hours because of the nighttime awakenings of our baby. It wasn’t until about a year later that my husband told me about his three months of no sleep. Basically, he said, “When you get something as simple as a driver’s license, they make you take a test. But we get a real, live baby, and there’s no instruction manual or anything.”

I had no idea how overwhelmed he was with this new responsibility. I was clueless because I came from a very large family where I had 7 younger brothers. Babies were like breathing for me. I started babysitting for families with 6 kids under the age of 5 when I was 12 years old! So, I know that my motherhood came easy for me. It was a gift from my parents. My husband was the youngest of 4 spread out across 12 years. He was also close to the youngest cousin on both sides of his family. He really had no experience with child care. That’s why he is so amazing to me! He just took on the challenge and made it look easy.

On this Feast Day of St. Joseph, I just want to give a shout out to God in thanksgiving for my husband. There are many more wonderful things he has done and continues to do as a father. What a blessing he is in our life!