My Dear Friends,
As we continue our Advent journey, I want to revisit one the key figures of Christ’s nativity: St. Joseph. This coming Wednesday, the Year of St. Joseph draws to a close. One year ago, our Holy Father, Pope Francis, proclaimed a year dedicated to Joseph, the spouse of our Blessed Mother. It was a year full of graces. Many people, including myself, did the 33-day consecration to St. Joseph. Those days were marked by intense meditation into the life of this just and holy man who gave up everything to take Mary into his home and raise the child Jesus as if he were his own son.
Pope Francis gave us the gift of an apostolic letter last December dedicated to St. Joseph called Patris Corde, “With a Father’s Heart.” I highly encourage you to read this letter which is a sublime meditation on the life of Joseph. It is the perfect spiritual companion for Advent. It is also a beautiful guide for fathers as the Holy Father goes deep into the importance of fatherhood:
Joseph found happiness not in mere self-sacrifice but in self-gift. In him, we never see frustration but only trust. His patient silence was the prelude to concrete expressions of trust. Our world today needs fathers…When fathers refuse to live the lives of their children for them, new and unexpected vistas open up. Every child is the bearer of a unique mystery that can only be brought to light with the help of a father who respects that child’s freedom. A father who realizes that he is most a father and educator at the point when he becomes “useless”, when he sees that his child has become independent and can walk the paths of life unaccompanied. When he becomes like Joseph, who always knew that his child was not his own but had merely been entrusted to his care…In every exercise of our fatherhood, we should always keep in mind that it has nothing to do with possession, but is rather a “sign” pointing to a greater fatherhood. In a way, we are all like Joseph: a shadow of the heavenly Father, who “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Mt 5:45). And a shadow that follows his Son. (PC 7)
Let us go to Joseph as we continue these days of Advent. Let him be the companion that we rely on just as our Blessed Mother relied on him to take her to Bethlehem. May he lead us to Jesus in the manger where our hearts long to be. May he protect us from all evil, for the Litany of St. Joseph rightly calls him the “terror of demons.” Entrusting your heart to Joseph will have a transformative impact on your spiritual life.
So, as we conclude this year dedicated to the Most Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, let us pray one final time the prayer our Holy Father inscribed at the end of Patris Corde:
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.
God bless you all,