LENT: THE SOLEMNITY OF ST JOSEPH

Faith, Fatherhood and Righteousness: God gives this strange strength to a man…

St. Joseph, guardian of Jesus and chaste husband of Mary, you passed your life in loving fulfillment of duty. You supported the holy family of Nazareth with the work of your hands. Kindly protect those who trustingly come to you. You know their aspirations, their hardships, their hopes. They look to you because they know you will understand and protect them. You too knew trial, labor and weariness. But amid the worries of material life your soul was full of deep peace and sang out in true joy through intimacy with God’s Son entrusted to you and with Mary, his tender Mother. Assure those you protect that they do not labor alone. Teach them to find Jesus near them and to watch over him faithfully as you have done. In Christ’s Name. Amen. Ora Pro Nobis.

St Joseph with the Christ Child, Guido Reni

St. Joseph, gives us help in so many things, but particularly to fathers as protectors and providers. His help is especially needed not only during this Lent when we face so many catastrophes in our world at present, but more so as we see Fatherhood encroached upon and dishonored, even disrespected. So many of our communities need strong fathers again!

It is a strange strength God gives a man

G.K. Chesterton, Joseph

Fathers are to set the example of faith and righteous obedience to God for us in the family. It is a strange strength God gives a man, as Chesterton notes in his poem ‘Joseph‘.  In the construct that God ordains for the family that actually works at its best, that strange strength of a  father takes the lead in faith and obedience towards God for his family and they in turn are encouraged by his example of strong righteous leadership to do the same.  His leadership  then becomes a comfort and strength to the family so that they put faith in it and run to it in time of need. As Abraham became a father to many nations containing men who would exercise faith on the promise made to Abraham, St. Joseph exercised faith in God and became a step father to the one who was the fulfillment of that promise. As Chesterton writes of him…

“If the stars fell; night’s nameless dreams
Of bliss and blasphemy came true,
If skies were green and snow were gold,
And you loved me as I love you;

O long light hands and curled brown hair,
And eyes where sits a naked soul;
Dare I even then draw near and burn
My fingers in the aureole?

Yes, in the one wise foolish hour
God gives this strange strength to a man.
He can demand, though not deserve,
Where ask he cannot, seize he can.

But once the blood’s wild wedding o’er,
Were not dread his, half dark desire,
To see the Christ-child in the cot,
The Virgin Mary by the fire?”
from the poem, ‘Joseph’ by G.K. Chesterton

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