View all Novenas | March 10, 2021
Journey With a Father’s Heart – Day 1
Day 1 – Introduction
Excerpt from Patris Corde
WITH A FATHER’S HEART: that is how Joseph loved Jesus, whom all four Gospels refer to as “the son of Joseph”.
Matthew and Luke, the two Evangelists who speak most of Joseph, tell us very little, yet enough for us to appreciate what sort of father he was, and the mission entrusted to him by God’s providence.
We know that Joseph was a lowly carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), betrothed to Mary (cf. Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27). He was a “just man” (Mt 1:19), ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him in the Law (cf. Lk 2:22.27.39) and through four dreams (cf. Mt 1:20; 2:13.19.22). After a long and tiring journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, he beheld the birth of the Messiah in a stable, since “there was no place for them” elsewhere (cf. Lk 2:7). He witnessed the adoration of the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:8-20) and the Magi (cf. Mt 2:1-12), who represented respectively the people of Israel and the pagan peoples.
Joseph had the courage to become the legal father of Jesus, to whom he gave the name revealed by the angel: “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21). As we know, for ancient peoples, to give a name to a person or to a thing, as Adam did in the account in the Book of Genesis (cf. 2:19-20), was to establish a relationship.
In the Temple, forty days after Jesus’ birth, Joseph and Mary offered their child to the Lord and listened with amazement to Simeon’s prophecy concerning Jesus and his Mother (cf. Lk 2:22-35). To protect Jesus from Herod, Joseph dwelt as a foreigner in Egypt (cf. Mt 2:13-18). After returning to his own country, he led a hidden life in the tiny and obscure village of Nazareth in Galilee, far from Bethlehem, his ancestral town, and from Jerusalem and the Temple. Of Nazareth it was said, “No prophet is to rise” (cf. Jn 7:52) and indeed, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (cf. Jn 1:46). When, during a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Joseph and Mary lost track of the twelve-year-old Jesus, they anxiously sought him out and they found him in the Temple, in discussion with the doctors of the Law (cf. Lk 2:41-50).
Pope Francis describes St. Joseph as “ever ready to carry out God’s will as revealed to him.” Such a statement is easy to say, but perhaps much more difficult to live out to its ultimate consequences. Rather than rushing past these powerful words, let us pause to take them in and visualize their meaning. What might it look like were I to live ever ready to carry out God’s will in my life?
It might be helpful to undertake a brief reflection as to what such readiness might entail. For those of us who tend to be go-getters by nature, this phrase might primarily invoke images of action, getting the job done. However, the Holy Father’s emphasis is deliberately on readiness, an attitude of the heart that leads to action but necessarily precedes it. Readiness implies openness. It implies listening. It implies a delicate attitude of attentiveness to even the slightest hints of God’s presence and will in our lives.
If this sounds overwhelming, it does not necessarily need to be. Certainly, attentive readiness is a habit to be cultivated, but isn’t this true in any relationship? Think about the capacity of a mother to be aware of her baby’s every need. Think of two people in love and their ability to become tuned in to the needs and desires of the other. We are capable of attentiveness and readiness in our relationships with others, and so too, we are capable of it in our relationship with God.
Questions for Reflection
- How can I prepare the ground to live with St. Joseph’s attitude of readiness by becoming more aware of the very ordinary ways that God reveals himself to me? Is there one particular way that I can start to be more attentive to God´s presence, perhaps through another person, a place, a moment in my day, a current life-circumstance?
- The Pope presents St. Joseph as ever-ready to carry out God’s will. Is there a specific area of my life in which I am resistant to embracing his will? Am I at least willing to open my heart to share my struggle with him and to ask for the grace to be able to come to embrace it? What attitudes or personal decisions might be required in order to take a step closer to ever-readiness to carry out God’s will in my life?
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.