March 20. St Joseph. “A father in the shadows.” Fr Brian explained, “Referring to those who remained in the background during the year of Covid-19, on 8 December 2020 Pope Francis instituted a Year for St Joseph and presented his Apostolic letter entitled Patris Corde, – Wth a Father’s Heart 150 years after the proclamation of St Joseph as the patron of the universal Church. The letter describes the man Joseph from the perspective of fatherhood in a number of beautiful ways; a beloved father, tender and loving father, obedient, accepting, creatively courageous, working, but finally he refers to “a father in the shadows.” We must also not forget however, that apart from “father” the missal speaks of him as “Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
Often in life, things happen whose meaning we do not understand. Our first reaction is frequently one of disappointment and rebellion. Joseph set aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them and make them part of his own history. Unless we are reconciled with our own history, we will be unable to take a single step forward, for we will always remain hostage to our expectations and the disappointments that follow. The spiritual path that Joseph traces for us is not one that explains, but accepts. Only as a result of this acceptance, this reconciliation, can we begin to glimpse a broader history, a deeper meaning.”
Many people wanted to join St Francis and adopt his vision of simplicity but, because of their commitments of family and work, were not always able to join the friars or sisters. Many people joined the Third Order for those who remained in the background, in the secular world. Over the years and all over the world millions continue to join the Secular Franciscan Third Order.
Scripture: Her husband being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame resolved to send her away quietly. But as he considered this an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. Matt 1:16-24.
Pope Francis: “Joseph accepted Mary unconditionally. He trusted in the angel’s words. “The nobility of Joseph’s heart is such that what he learned from the law he made dependent on charity. Today, in our world where psychological, verbal and physical violence towards women is so evident, Joseph appears as the figure of a respectful and sensitive man. Even though he does not understand the bigger picture, he makes a decision to protect Mary’s good name, her dignity and her life. In his hesitation about how best to act, God helped him by enlightening his judgment.” Patris Corde
Reflect, share, act, pray the Prayer to St Joseph from Patris Corde. Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To you God entrusted his only Son; in you Mary placed her trust; with you Christ became man. Blessed Joseph, to us too, show yourself a father and guide us in the path of life. Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage, and defend us from every evil. Amen.