St. Joseph: A Model Adorer
As we contemplate the wonder of our Lord and Savior’s birth, there is an oft-forgotten figure in the Nativity scene who is also rapt in adoration: St. Joseph. As we live the life of adoration, St. Joseph is a special model to follow.
St. Joseph is a deep contemplative: not a word is spoken by him in the Gospel, and yet, it is not a blank, listless silence. It is an eager, listening, discerning silence, in which he can hear God’s Will through the angel’s messages. Once known, he immediately carries it out, exactly as the angel tells him. There is his silence in which he refuses to aggrandize himself so that God might be more clearly seen: he stays in the background at the adoration of the shepherds and of the Magi, and at the presentation in the Temple. “He must increase, and I must decrease,” as John the Baptist would later say. There is his silent awe at what the Lord has done for his Immaculate Spouse, Mary, and his quiet protection of her as he takes her as his wife. There is also his silent adoration of the Incarnate Word, Whom God entrusts to St. Joseph as his adopted son. What a gift, what a dignity, what a responsibility! What fear and humility Joseph must have felt! How he must have said, as we say before our Eucharistic Lord, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof!” Yet the Lord wishes to show him and us that He is Emmanuel, “God-with-us,” God intimately united with us, despite our unworthiness, out of His ardent love for us. He, the Infinite God, makes Himself small for us, in order that He might inspire, not shrinking fear, but awe-filled love. Joseph adored His God hidden as a Child; we adore our God hiding not only His Divinity, but even His Humanity under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist. As we carry out our charism of perpetual adoration and adore the Lord in the silent hours of night, we actually continue what Mary and Joseph first did when they adored the Infant God in the middle of the night.
What faith Joseph had! He, following Mary’s example, placed his life at the service of God, even when he did not understand completely what was asked of him. He made a sacrifice of his own plans to follow God’s Will, and made of his entire life a gift of love as he lived with his Incarnate God and acted as a loving father to Him. St. Joseph, throughout his life in the Holy Family, is constantly in contact with mystery, with the mystery of God, and his response is one of trusting faith. As he lived day in and day out with Him, there must have been the temptation to take Him for granted, or to lose sight, in the ordinariness of every day, of the extraordinary mystery of God dwelling with him. We have the great privilege of our God in each of our tabernacles—how we can fall into this temptation! Yet St. Joseph was alive to the mystery of God dwelling with him. He is eager, as a good father, to help us to wonder at the mystery of God’s love among us.
And yet, he could not perpetually kneel before a quiet Child. The Child needed to be cared for and provided for. St. Joseph carried out his work as a carpenter out of love for the Divine Child and His Mother in order to provide for them, making his labor itself an act of adoration. St. Joseph thus combined the contemplative life with the active, which is what our Congregation strives for, and which each of us, in our own way, can live. We strive to make our lives one ceaseless act of adoration, as St. Joseph did. May he help us with his powerful intercession in this loving endeavor!
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I give you my heart and soul.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, be with me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul at peace with you.
~ Reflection by Miss Valerie