It's already the 4th Friday of Lent; only 2 more to go! As we're building up to Holy Week, we're waiting in anticipation for the glorious celebration of Jesus' rising from the dead. This is what being a Christian is all about: believing Jesus Christ died for our sins so that we may live with Him forever! What a great promise!
Today is the Feast of St. Joseph. Unfortunately, we don't know a whole lot about what he was like. We have to assume by what we read in the Bible. I picture St. Joseph to be a hard-working, quiet man who didn't have a lot to say, but when he said it, everyone listened. I picture him to have parented Jesus by example, not words. Of course, Jesus being the Son of God and being perfect, I'm sure there wasn't a lot of discipline going on the household, anyway! Just think: St. Joseph was chosen by God to be His son's earthly father. Wow. What a responsibility. Here's a man who was betrothed to a woman, but then is told his betrothed is pregnant. Joseph knows the baby isn't his, and he chooses to "divorce" Mary quietly to save her from being shamed. Then, in a dream, an angel comes and explains things to him, so he makes the choice to stay with Mary and raise the baby as his own (while on earth). Wow. That's all I can say: Wow. Fast forward to today: Do you really think if that happened today a man would say "okay, I'll do it"? I think today's man would need a heck of a lot more proof than an angel in a dream! Of course, God did choose the right man for the job!
The heartaches that come with parenting any child must've been 10 times harder with Jesus, but the joys must have been 10 times greater as well. "The Little Black Book" outlines 7 sorrows, joys of St. Joseph:
"1) Sorrow when Joseph decided to leave Mary; joy when the angel appeared to him.
2) Sorrow when he saw Jesus born in poverty; joy when the angels announced Jesus' birth.
3) Sorrow when he saw Jesus' blood shed during circumcision; joy in giving him the name Jesus.
4) Sorrow when he heard Simeon's prophecy; joy when he learned many would be saved through Jesus' sufferings.
5) Sorrow when he had to flee to Egypt; joy in always being with Mary and Jesus.
6) Sorrow when he was afraid to return to his homeland; joy when the angel told him to go to Nazareth.
7) Sorrow when he lost the child Jesus; joy when he found him in the Temple."
These joys/sorrows are part of a devotion to St. Joseph that starts on the 7th Sunday before his feast day, and is called "The Seven Sundays Devotion to St. Joseph". Until I read this in the book today, I had no idea there was such a devotion. We should all look to St. Joseph as an example of how to be patient, kind parents and spouses.
P.S. Since today is considered to be the Solemnity of St. Joseph, today doesn't have to be a "meatless Friday". See Canon 1251: "Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ."
Thanks, Why am I Catholic, for clearing that up!