Yesterday's Daily Mass gospel reading (Matt 1:18-25) was a beautiful one which described the account of the angel Gabriel's visit to Joseph. I read a reflection I got from my Daily Prayer with Regnum Christi emails that beautifully explained this Gospel and how we can live it out. I'll summarize these ways that touched my heart.
One, we can live out the Gospel by following St. Joseph's example of thinking the best of others. Instead of denouncing Mary publicly, he was prepared to let it drop quietly. Do I look down on others and criticize them in mind or in speech, or do I give them the benefit of the doubt? Two, by recognizing the importance of responding to a crisis in charity. Many times God waits to reveal his will, just as he waited to send the angel Gabriel, until our hearts are ready to follow him completely. Do I choose charity and wait in patience? And thirdly, realizing that Christ is counting on me to cooperate with him. St. Joseph's "yes" reminds us of Mary's "yes" and is almost like a second Annunciation which now allows Christ to have an earthly father and reputable lineage. Am I ready to say "yes" in the good times and the bad?
Eeesh, these are three things I really struggle with and need to take to prayer!
During this final week before Christmas, I also think on Joseph as a husband. On how he might have felt on those days leading up to the birth of the Lord and the physical circumstances surrounding the Nativity. I am reminded of my own "Joseph" who has worked so hard these past few years in work and school, so that he might provide for our own family. I think on the humble beginnings of our marriage, on the times we were left with hardly a penny, on our family who has helped support us these years, on my husband who has always been insistent that we be open to new life even during these times, and on the faith he has had that God will always provide for us. Coincidentally, yesterday was Steven's first day of work at his new job. In the timespan of two weeks he has graduated, helped get a cattle property going, started this new job, and will buy a house. A true example of St. Joseph to me! And a reminder of how God always provides.
This week I need to remember the importance of prayer as we prepare to celebrate the Birth of Our Lord. Since we are staying with family, it is much more difficult to have my morning quiet time, my Gospel reading, our family Advent wreath prayers, our Jesse Tree readings, and all our beautiful children's Christmas books that help us to remember Christ's love throughout the day. But we do have some very important opportunities with our family and friends to follow humble St. Joseph and find the best in others, act in charity, and say "yes" in all the little decisions for good throughout the day.
Humble St. Joseph, pray for us!