Wednesday, February 02, 2011

A Word from St. Joseph

Today is the first Wednesday of the month, and our community usually follows a tradition we adopted from (I believe) the Carmelites in dedicating this day to St. Joseph. It helps that this year, the first Wednesday of February falls on a feast day commemorating an event in which St. Joseph actually took part: the Presentation of the Lord. Not that he had a speaking role, or even that he gets an independent mention in the story as narrated by St. Luke--but that is typical of Joseph. (We don't have a word of his recorded in the Bible.)

Be that as it may, I thought I would invite St. Joseph to be a guest blogger today, even if that means secretarial duties for me.

What would you like to write about today, St. Joseph?
You probably expect me to talk about my experience that day at the Temple with Mary when Simeon and Anna recognized our Son, but I have something else in mind, because so many people who will be reading your blog are praying to me about employment and housing issues. As a workman myself, I really feel for those who have been out of work for a while, or who are worried about their unemployed family members.

Yes, I am in that number myself: praying to you for relatives who are looking for a job.
It can be really demoralizing: not just the "not having a job," but having to live with that insecurity. As I look back on my life with Jesus and Mary, I remember times when I was "between jobs," too. There were things to be done around the house, but they didn't always put food on the table, and a growing boy--well, you know how they are around food. (Jesus never did multiply fish and bread at home!)  You just don't know from day to day when (or if) the situation is going to change. And you don't really know what to do with all that "free" time you suddenly have. That can be demoralizing, too. As if your time was suddenly not worth anything anymore. That's what I want to focus on.

Oh, please go on.
You can only submit so many job applications in a day...
So I would like to invite those Catholics who suddenly have too much time on their hands to spend some of that time, maybe an hour or half-hour a week, in working with me on a special project.

What are you working on?
As you know, I was named Patron of the Universal Church by Bl. Pius IX. I need some collaborators in shoring up the buttresses of faith.

What tools would that involve? What skill sets?
First of all, no extra tools are necessary; there is work enough for everyone. The primary skill set is an open heart and a willingness to spend an extra hour or thirty minutes before the Blessed Sacrament, receiving the Word of God and then interceding for the Church, especially for the many people who have been alienated from the Church because of the sins of her ministers or the compromises her members have made with those parts of the popular culture that they are supposed to be transforming in the light of the Gospel.
Yes, there is the need to spread the Gospel, to evangelize, but I am going to let Paul direct those projects. As a home-builder, my special concern is that the Church on earth be a place where people can dwell securely. We need a team of master-builders to contribute what they can to this effort: prayer is within everyone's reach, but not everyone has the flex-time to actually make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament. This is where the job-seekers have a real advantage.

I hate to be so blunt, Joseph, but what can you offer these people for their time?
I remember the Sabbath days at home in Nazareth: the freedom to just be with Jesus in the company of his mother... I'd be happy to share some of that experience with those who join me and the rest of the heavenly host in adoring, praising and listening to him. Because, really: what advantage do we in heaven have over you on earth except that we see what we both (in heaven and on earth) possess in Jesus?

Well, thank you very much for sharing your invitation with us today, the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. And...don't forget my relatives and the other job-seekers, especially those whose families are in the greatest need.

Recommended: St. Joseph, Help for Life's Emergencies. It's a St. Joseph prayerbook! With reflections and prayers for all sorts of family needs: employment, to sell a house (or buy one), marital issues, a father's prayer... 

1 comment:

Deacon Bill said...

Great blog post. Thank you for thinking of the unemployed. They have been on my mind recently too.
Pax Christi,
Deacon Bill Hynes
St. Benedict's Parish
Diocese of Buffalo, NY