Today we celebrate the Solemnity of St. Joseph, in the month of St. Joseph, during the Year of St. Joseph. Wow! Talk about a celebration! On this day, many people are completing their consecration to St. Joseph, and appreciating in a whole new way the role of St. Joseph in their lives and in the life of the Church.
But whether you’ve consecrated yourself to St. Joseph or you’ve never really given St. Joseph much thought, today’s 19 on the 19th offers a beautiful reflection for you. Father Matthew Spencer, OSJ explains how St. Joseph is a man who understands our sorrows, our joys, and how both can bring us closer to Christ.
19 on the 19th is a series that brings you 19-minute reflections on St. Joseph each month. This month, Fr. Matthew concluded his 3-part series on the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph. You can catch up on Part 1, Part 2, and listen to Part 3 here.
In reflecting on the 5th Sorrow and Joy of St. Joseph, the Flight into Egypt, Fr. Matthew pointed out that St. Joseph’s experience of being apart from his home is very relatable. In fact, it is relatable for all of us because, as St. Therese of Lisieux said, “The world is thy ship, not thy home.” When you are feeling sorrow because of displacement on a material or spiritual level, know you can go to Joseph. He understands your struggles and is a model of how to approach these sorrows.
Fr. Matthew said, “Maybe you’ve had a hard time finding a place to call home. Look to Joseph and go to Joseph. He can help us to understand that all the movement in life, all of the challenges that might come, all the fear that might be present, that pushes us in one way or another, is one step in a much bigger journey. A much more important journey to heaven.”
We can go to Joseph not only in our sorrows, but also in our joys. The last Sorrow and Joy of St. Joseph is the Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple. Fr. Matthew pointed that the joy St. Joseph experienced in this event is something we experience ourselves when we go to Confession. In this Sorrow and Joy we pray:
Help us Saint Joseph never to lose Jesus through the fault of our own sins. But if we should lose him, lead us back with unworried sorrow until we find Him again, so that we, like you, may finally pass from this life dying safely in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Fr. Matthew said, “I love the fact that this Sorrow and Joy connects the losing of Jesus in the Temple and finding Him again to our own sinfulness. When we sin it is like we are losing Christ in our life. And we should experience that same fear, that same anguish even, that would lead us to fly to Confession when we recognize that we are losing that grace of right relationship with God.”
St. Joseph understands the joy that is found in finding Christ when we have lost Him. This prayer also gives us great hope and joy, because we can recognize the reward that awaits us when we find Christ and His mercy in the confessional, and remain close to Him. St. Joseph is a model of a life lived with Christ, and the joy that a holy life can bring.
“When we do find that mercy of God, we are led back with unwearied sorrow until we find Jesus again … so that we might also die a happy death in the arms of Jesus and Mary,” Fr. Matthew said.
As a child, Jesus likely went to Joseph when He scraped His knee and also when He learned a new skill. Let us also go to Joseph in our sorrows and joys, and let him lead us closer to Christ.
Learn more about how you can Experience the Year of St. Joseph with Relevant Radio® and receive every episode of 19 on the 19th in your inbox each month. You’ll also receive a FREE ‘Living the Year of St. Joseph’ booklet which includes the Seven Sorrows and Joys of St. Joseph, the Litany of St. Joseph, and much more! Sign-up and then let your friends and family know about this opportunity to grow closer to Jesus through St. Joseph!