We’ve made an offer on a house!! Their counter was kinda of like, “Um, yeeeah, we’ll pretend you didn’t just do that.” They didn’t drop their price by a penny and they dropped our contingency. We have until Sunday to respond. Which means that in order to continue playing ball with these people, we HAVE to receive, negotiate, and accept an offer on our house in the next four days. Impossible? Possibly. Likely? Sure! We dropped our price and we’re praying like crazy. Thinking, visualizing a good outcome. Basically doing everything besides weird sacrifice rituals. As Catholics, nay merely as people selling a home, we’ve also been asked plenty if we’re going to bury a statue of St. Joseph “upside down...12 inches underground…in the back yard…facing the house…” or some such specific silliness.
I’d heard about this tradition but have never researched it. This practice is a little bizarre – as many things that once had actual religious meaning but have since been turned into more of a superstitious one. There are “St. Joseph, my Real Estate Agent” kits; “St. Joseph Home Selling” kits. They even have ones called "EcoJoe." That's right, "He's a natural! Won't harm the Earth!" One resource says the practice began when European nuns buried medals of St. Joseph on land they hoped to aquire for a Convent. The practice has turned into a profitable market where even real estate agents purchase the little 4-inch plastic Joe’s in bulk to provide to their clients. There’s even a website where you can have St. Joseph help sell your house on-line. (i.e. It’s just another real estate marketing website).
Here’s what I make of this: some people need to DO something when they feel helpless. I get it. Trust me, my prayers during this process (as during the adoption process) have definitely been ramped up and a bit more, “Um, yeah, God, so can you please answer THIS specific request in THIS specific way…” Despite knowing that God’s will WILL be done whether it’s exactly what we want or not. Another way of saying this (less religious-y if you prefer) is, as we know, things aren’t always up to us. What happens, happens. I do believe that we have some control of our destiny (as in, think positive thoughts? Yes. “Ask and ye shall receive.” Totally! I mean it IS in the Bible, afterall. But we also must trust that God knows what’s best for us. And it’s not always what WE think is best for us).
I must say, however, that my friendship with good ‘ol St. Joe has definitely gotten tighter. He’s my bud. He’s my pal. He might be tired of hearing from me. We DO go to St. Joseph Church, so I feel like I should have a special ‘in.’ Now, to clarify, contrary to popular belief, Catholics do not PRAY to Saints. We ask the Saints to pray for US. People often ask friends and family to pray for them, right? So why not ask those who are REALLY close to the source of answers? As in, those awesome people who are chillin’ in Heaven with God. Makes sense to me.
I recently asked our priest, why, as we sell our home, it’s often suggested that we ask St. Joe for help. Why not just petition all the Saints? The more, the merrier, I say. I don’t need to play favorites, you can all pray for us! I understand that St. Joseph is a rockstar when it comes to home and family life. He did have kind of a big task: ‘By the way, Joseph, your son is actually the Savior. No pressure.’ But why just go to him? Well, obviously, we don’t have to and haven’t. But, as Father Todd put it, contacting St. Joe directly is like sending him a personal email rather than just putting a generic request on facebook or sending out a big forward email or tweeting your followers (not that I have any. I don’t tweet). But St. Joe may listen and pray for us more fervently if we ask directly and often. And I sure am sending him plenty of those direct prayer request mental- emails. Thankfully none have bounced back with an “Undelivered mail; return to sender” notice. He’s receiving ‘em!