Thursday, March 19, 2009

March 19th - St. Joseph

As a father, I find Joseph to be intriguing and interesting, though we know little about him. All too late in the day today did I realize that it was his feast day.

Hat tip goes (as it often does) to The Episcopal Cafe

~The Rev. Peter M. Carey

Daily Reading for March 19 • St. Joseph

We know little of Joseph. There were dramatic moments in his life, of course: Bethlehem, the flight into Egypt, the temple episode, but my feeling at least is that for the essential Joseph, the body and substance of his life was in the ordinary, simple, working, family life in Nazareth. The child and his mother depended on him for food, a home, love, basic education, a place in the social fabric of their village. He seems to have been a simple man, hidden in his ordinariness, “only” Joseph the carpenter. He did not have any part in Christ’s public life of preaching. It would seem he was dead by then. More profoundly, his contribution to Christ’s work was situated at another level, at the level of his personal relationship with Christ, what he gave of himself to the human person of Jesus. We know how important this is in the development of the personality. Judging by the fruits, he loved much and wisely.

As a Brother, your contribution to the body of Christ which is the Church will have some of the same characteristics. It will be simple yet essential. It will be very much incarnated, yet the fruit of the Spirit. It will be concerned with the material well-being of a small group of Christ’s disciples, yet it will be Jesus whom you will serve in them. Its truth will be plain to see, verifiable in a very concrete obedience, effort, humility and charity, yet it will receive all its energy from within, from a deep, personal love of Christ and a willingness to carry the burdens of his cross as they present themselves in the vicissitudes of real life. Prayer and work will be inextricably interwoven in the silent world of the monastery, not the silence of absence of life, but the harmonious silence of well-ordered activity. Like Mary and Joseph you will follow the way, not of riches or power, but the humble hidden path of Nazareth and so enter, day by day, more deeply into the kingdom of God.

From “Receiving the Habit of a Converse Brother” in The Spirit of the Place by a Carthusian prior, quoted in Wisdom of the Cloister: A Monastic Reader, edited by John Skinner (Image Books, 1999).

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