The Sorrows of St. Joseph

 

We are all familiar with the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. According to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Mary endured sorrow greater than the combined sorrow all of the martyrs. 

 

As we approach the feast of St. Joseph, consider the sorrows he may have endured.

 

St. Joseph was present to share in the sorrows of Our Lady. He was given the incredible responsibility to provide for the Holy Family. He was their support in a material sense but was the spiritual earthly father for the Child Jesus. 

 

What sorrow he must have felt when he learned Mary was with child; as he would have immediately known it was not his own. His anguish was great, as he realized he could not marry her. His great compassion did not want her to be submitted to the harshness of the law. His first thought was to protect her.

 

What thoughts must have gone through his mind, as Mary gives birth in a manger. The Christ Child enters this world among the poorest of conditions instead of the majesty that should surround a King. Joseph is to provide for the child and Mother and the first moments of Our Savior are within a stable and far from home. His Fatherhood begins.

 

Joy is quickly turned into sorrow as Joseph and Mary hear the words of Simeon. The scriptures say, the “child’s father and mother were amazed at what they heard”.  What do the words mean?

 

 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted.”

 

(and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

 

As any father can testify, a parent suffers the pain that his children suffer. What is this fall and rise of Israel? How much would we rather suffer the pain of our children than watch them suffer.  His beloved wife is told a sword will pierce her heart. Surely Joseph would have taken the pain from Mary and Jesus if he could?  But, that was not God’s plan. It was not his role.

 

Before Joseph can provide a home for his new family and begin their life together, he must flee in the night for a land they know nothing about. They leave for Egypt. Do they know the language there? Where will they live? How will they support themselves?  All these thoughts are going through his mind as he leads his family to their new home.

 

Before Jesus is fully grown, Joseph and Mary know the sorrow of loss. When the Child Jesus was lost for three days on their return from the temple, they looked for him with a fear only a parent can know. Think of time when you did not the whereabouts of someone you love. The fear and far off places your imagination can take you when you are in that state of not knowing.

 

The central thread that winds itself through St. Joseph’s life is total obedience to the Will of God. He did not choose his course in life. With every twist and turn, he turned to prayer and let God speak to him. The angels of God ministered to him telling him the way he should go.

 

May we be open to God’s grace in our lives and turn to our own Guardian Angels who are always waiting and ready to light and guide our way.

We are all familiar with the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. According to St. Alphonsus Liguori, Mary endured sorrow greater than the combined sorrow all of the martyrs. 

 

As we approach the feast of St. Joseph, consider the sorrows he may have endured.

 

St. Joseph was present to share in the sorrows of Our Lady. He was given the incredible responsibility to provide for the Holy Family. He was their support in a material sense but was the spiritual earthly father for the Child Jesus. 

 

What sorrow he must have felt when he learned Mary was with child; as he would have immediately known it was not his own. His anguish was great, as he realized he could not marry her. His great compassion did not want her to be submitted to the harshness of the law. His first thought was to protect her.

 

What thoughts must have gone through his mind, as Mary gives birth in a manger. The Christ Child enters this world among the poorest of conditions instead of the majesty that should surround a King. Joseph is to provide for the child and Mother and the first moments of Our Savior are within a stable and far from home. His Fatherhood begins.

 

Joy is quickly turned into sorrow as Joseph and Mary hear the words of Simeon. The scriptures say, the “child’s father and mother were amazed at what they heard”.  What do the words mean?

 

 Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted.”

 

(and you yourself a sword will pierce)* so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

 

As any father can testify, a parent suffers the pain that his children suffer. What is this fall and rise of Israel? How much would we rather suffer the pain of our children than watch them suffer.  His beloved wife is told a sword will pierce her heart. Surely Joseph would have taken the pain from Mary and Jesus if he could?  But, that was not God’s plan. It was not his role.

 

Before Joseph can provide a home for his new family and begin their life together, he must flee in the night for a land they know nothing about. They leave for Egypt. Do they know the language there? Where will they live? How will they support themselves?  All these thoughts are going through his mind as he leads his family to their new home.

 

Before Jesus is fully grown, Joseph and Mary know the sorrow of loss. When the Child Jesus was lost for three days on their return from the temple, they looked for him with a fear only a parent can know. Think of time when you did not the whereabouts of someone you love. The fear and far off places your imagination can take you when you are in that state of not knowing.

 

The central thread that winds itself through St. Joseph’s life is total obedience to the Will of God. He did not choose his course in life. With every twist and turn, he turned to prayer and let God speak to him. The angels of God ministered to him telling him the way he should go.

 

May we be open to God’s grace in our lives and turn to our own Guardian Angels who are always waiting and ready to light and guide our way.

March 19, 2017

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