Joseph in God’s plan

Friends in Christ, we often ponder the events of Jesus’ birth, of Mary’s encounter with the Angel, her ‘Fiat,’ her ‘yes’ to God’s plan; we think of these events often.
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But at the same time, there was someone else who had an important role to play in God’s plan, and that was St. Joseph.
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When Joseph heard that his betrothed was with child, what was his reaction? Was he angry, as if he thought she had sinned? No.[i] The angel told him, ‘don’t be afraid Joseph.’ So he was not angry, rather, he was afraid.
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What was he afraid of? He was afraid that he was not worthy to be part of this great Mystery. God had before brought about remarkable conceptions, such as with Sarah who was old, and Hannah who was sterile; and Joseph had recently learned that God was doing something new, in that Elizabeth had conceived, who was very old.
So Joseph saw this event with Mary as something also of God, and felt that he should break off the engagement and get out of God’s way. But the angel assured him that he should proceed. And so he did.
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St. Joseph is a model for us, in our approach to Christ in our life. He was a man of a deep interior life. He was a man of few words; not one word of Joseph is recorded in the Holy Gospels.
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St. John Paul II[ii] tells us that Joseph would be in daily contact with the Mystery of God-made-Man under his own roof, at his kitchen table, with the God-made-Man. As we see today, St. Joseph surrendered all his plans; he calmly took a new path, along with all the challenges of welcoming the Son of God into his home. His actions can only be understood in light of his profound interior life, his life of prayer. Nothing can explain Joseph’s quiet ability to make difficult decisions with the courage of a simple soul, except his interior life of devotion.
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But the Word was made flesh, not only 2000 years ago, but still today at every Mass. Christ comes down from heaven to us daily, to be a part of our own life. Would that our own interior life of prayer be as ready to welcome Jesus, as was that of St. Joseph.

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[i] If Joseph were a ‘just man’ as it says, he would want justice to be done, and not disobey the Law, which would require stoning of an unfaithful woman. A ‘just man’ would not skirt the Law.

[ii] 1989 apostolic exhortation on St. Joseph, Redemptoris Custos.

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