When we read the stories of the saints, we are often inspired to go out and do great deeds for God like they did. But for most of us, the circumstances of our daily lives don’t allow us to evangelize like St. Paul or perform miracles like Padre Pio.
But while St. Paul and St. Pio are incredible role models in our faith, the path to sainthood does not require heroic travels and extraordinary miracles. Recently on St. Joseph’s Workshop, Father Matthew Spencer, OSJ reflected on how St. Joseph can be a model for finding God and doing His will – especially in the ordinary moments of our daily life. Fr. Matthew said:
“St. Joseph had almost no amazing miracles happen to him. Now, I know you’re saying, ‘Wait a minute, Father. He was involved in the most momentous events of history – the Incarnation, the Birth of Jesus, and the life of Jesus of Nazareth.’
He did have some pretty neat things in his life. He had angels appear to him four times in dreams. But if you notice, it’s interesting that St. Joseph had angels appearing to him in dreams rather than while he was awake, like Mary and Zechariah did.
For Joseph, he was communicated to by dreams. And it is a more humble communication than the angel appearing before you like in the case of Zechariah or Mary. But apparently it was clear enough, because every time an angel appeared to St. Joseph he got up and he did it. That’s a hallmark trait of St. Joseph – his prompt obedience in doing what the Lord said to him through the angels.
What’s interesting to me is that these are the major miracles that Joseph experienced. It’s true that he was also present with our Blessed Mother for the Virgin Birth. And that’s pretty amazing. But when you look at his life, Scripture doesn’t tell us any other miracles in his life. Joseph lived a life that largely had many ordinary experiences, not a lot of extraordinary miracles happening.
You and I, so often, look for extraordinary solutions to our problems. We look around for miracles, we look around for something amazing to happen out there, we look around for a magical solution to the mess of my life, or the problems that I’m going through. When, in fact, so often what the Lord wants from us is to do faithfully the little things he has placed before us. The ordinary responsibilities of our life, done with great love.
This is what so many saints of the past few hundred years have reflected on. You look at St. Francis de Sales, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Joseph Morello, St. Teresa of Avila – all of the great devotees of St. Joseph – they recognize that here is a man who didn’t need to see amazing miracles. Here’s a man who didn’t need to have extraordinary things happening to him in his life. Because he was a man of faith, and he was a man of prompt obedience.
He was a man who did what was asked of him. Whether it was an amazing, really important task like taking his family to Egypt to protect them from King Herod, or whether it was simply providing on a day by day basis back in Nazareth. We see Joseph faithfully fulfilling his obligations – both as a Jew and as the earthly father of Jesus and husband of Mary.
I think that leaves us the challenge to look at our own lives. How often we look for extraordinary experiences. How often we cry out to God for some immediate, quick fix to our problems. For divine intervention that is magnificent and out of this world, and beyond our ordinary experience. When, in fact, God can work through the ordinary experiences of our lives.
In fact, more often than not, God is inviting us to discover Him in the small moments of our lives. In the relationships He has allowed, in the joys and the sorrows that we experience, in the sufferings and trials, as well as the blessings that He pours down upon our lives.
Rather than seek out something extraordinary, work to be obedient even when it seems too simple. Even when it seems too ordinary. Like St. Joseph, be content if God is revealing things to us in more subtle ways, if God is revealing them to us through ordinary circumstances. No matter the case, be obedient in all circumstances.”
Listen to the full reflection below:
St. Joseph’s Workshop with Father Matthew Spencer airs weekdays at 7:00 p.m. Eastern/4:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.