The Year of St. Joseph, which was declared by Pope Francis last year, began Dec. 8, 2020 and concludes Dec. 8, 2021.
As we contemplate the life of St. Joseph, protector of the holy family, God invites us to meditate on the role that the father plays in the family.
In his Apostolic Letter Patris Corde (“With a Father's Heart”), the pope wrote that St. Joseph shows us how God, in his plan of salvation, not only chose a mother for his son, but also chose a family, because by choosing Mary, he also chose Joseph as her husband and adoptive father of Jesus.
In Joseph we see the example of an open heart always willing to do the will of God, even though at times the divine plan was opposite to what Joseph may have wanted or desired. St. Joseph shows us how to fulfill the divine plan. He was meek and knew how to say “yes” to God in everything!
It was because of that meekness – that docility of will – that Joseph was able to teach the child Jesus to accept and do the will of God the Father!
God, by choosing St. Joseph and calling him to enter "into the service of the entire economy of the incarnation" (Patris Corde, paragraph 1) - as the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus - does not choose someone perfect. No! Rather, God chose someone like us, imperfect and weak human beings. It is precisely in that frailty, within those human fears, that God's plan is realized and magnified.
The example of St. Joseph is an invitation to the certainty that we CAN fulfill the divine plan despite our frailties and fears. Those weaknesses – those frailties and fears – are not cause for shame. For the one who knows oneself to be a child of God, weaknesses are opportunities to ask for God’s help, just as a child does with his father when he is in need. Thus, by opening our hearts to God, we make room for Jesus – and for the Father and the Holy Spirit – to help us and transform our life into a resounding YES to God. In this way, we will carry out with him who is love the plan that he has drawn for us in the history of salvation.
Redemption, salvation and healing do not take place outside of history or of our own reality. The holiness of Joseph’s life teaches us that when we allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes and our hearts to recognize our own weaknesses, he - who is love and mercy - will strengthen, heal and forgive us. Thus, renewed with a grateful, truly human, and joyful heart, we will be able to say a constant “yes” to God and fulfill the plan of salvation with which he entrusted us – making ever present his kingdom of love and life.
The Lord invites all people to help him make love present in their own homes through the greatest gift that they can give: the gift of self, the gift of your love. In that reality filled with love, you will allow your children to see and discover how the Lord loves and carries out his plan: not through false perfection, but through the giving of one’s self, with all of our imperfections.
Teach your children that God needs them! God does not need perfection; He needs humble, fragile and docile hearts that have the courage to recognize that they have needs and desires that ONLY love can fulfill. With this recognition, they will truly see and enjoy the wonders that God works in life and in one’s own personal history.
Whether a child, young adult, or adult, our own history is the history of salvation!