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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Saint Joseph

So, I’m a pretty big Saint Joseph fan – and by that, I mean the man, not just the church (although that happens to be our parish too and I like it as well; I’m just currently discussing the guy).  I’ll admit that, selfishly, my pro-St. Joe-ness started when we were trying to sell our house.  Desperate for a sale, I finally caved under the pressure and suggestions (the last one coming from a priest!) to do the ‘ol hokey – bury poor Saint Joseph (a small statue version) in your garden deal.  And, yep, it did work, although, I think a.) the house would’ve sold eventually anyway and b.) it’s faith and trusting God’s plan that helps, not the belief in some superstition. But praying is always comforting and asking for prayers from friends – and friends in high places (Saints!) – is never a bad thing!

Once a month, we have Adoration at St. Joe’s – keeping a round the clock vigil in church with the Blessed Sacrament.  I like to sign up for a butt-crack-of-dawn time and this month scored the 5am-6am time slot meaning I was up at the ungodly (sorry) hour of 4am.  Kayli actually had me up at 3, and I didn’t sleep much after that knowing that I’d have to get up soon.  I think, honestly, being tired adds to the experience.  Once I’m in the quiet church, with only the sound of the holy water font bubbling behind me, and the darkness coming through the windows enclosing me, it’s very easy to get into a slight form of “St. Joseph’s Prayer.”  Through His angels, God chose to speak to St. Joseph when he was asleep; therefore, nodding off while praying is merely slipping into prayer the way St. Joe did!
Friends of ours from Engaged Encounter, go to Adoration weekly on Mondays from 4-5am.  Maureen said that because it’s so stinkin’ early in the morning, she often feels like she has ‘God mostly to herself.’  I love that. 

There are supposed to be two people signed up for every hour – that way you’re never alone in the church or there’s at least someone else there, if the other person oversleeps/can’t make it.  When I arrived at 4:50, there were three people in the church.  Shortly after 5, they all left and I had the church – and Jesus – completely to myself for nearly an hour.  I feel like saying ‘it was magical’ is pretty lame, but it basically was.  (Movingly spiritual or spiritually moving would probably be more appropriate.)

Towards the end of my hour, I started thinking about St. Joseph…which now, so often, makes me think about my dad.  After dad died, the boys even commented that ‘D-dad’ was like St. Joseph – he was a worker.  As I thought about it I had a sudden image of St. Joseph and my dad – sporting his ‘work clothes’ (old paint-splattered jeans, grubby sweatshirt, blue coat) – working together.  Side by side.  Just chillin’ in Heaven building stuff like total buddies.  I couldn’t help but smile.  After a bit, I pulled out my Kindle – and went to one of my faves – some of Pope Francis’ homilies from Lent last year.  (Um, pretty much love that guy more than life itself.)  I just started at a random one and what was the whole thing about?  Yup.  Saint Joseph.

I read: “Jesus is born and lives in a family, in the Holy Family, learning the carpenter’s craft from St. Joseph in his workshop in Nazareth, sharing with him the commitment, effort, satisfaction and also the difficulties of every day…St. Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us…”

Stuff I love about Joseph: I love – especially as an adoptive parent – that St. Joseph is the foster and adoptive father of Jesus.  I love that Joseph is called “the terror of demons.”  (Boom! Take THAT scary stuff!)  I love that St. Joe is a worker and, in his example, we should see our work not as monotonous chore, but as a gift that we’ve been given and that we can perform with a happy heart. 

In most any St. Joseph prayer, we ask him to pray that we might have “the grace of a happy death,” that he “assist me at the hour of my death;” that “I might merit to die as you (St. Joseph) did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.”  Obviously, I can’t help but think of my dad and – knowing how devout he was – and feel such comfort.  My dad had a beautiful, grace-filled death.  He was working for the church (WORKING – in his grubby work clothes).  Thank you, St. Joseph.

All of these thoughts were swirling in me as I finished my hour of Adoration.  I could NOT stop thinking about St. Joseph and feeling this strong connection to him and between him and my dad.   There’s a stand in the back of the vestibule that has audio books/presentations.  I always check them out after Adoration to see if there are any good ones.  In the very middle of the CD’s, one just happened to jump out at me.  In huge bold letters it said, “St. Joseph.”  Ha!  Guess that’s the one I’ll pick up this month!  Next to the CD stand, there was a basket full of prayer cards: “Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19th” with a picture of St. Joseph and Jesus.  The back of the card has the beautiful prayer that starting on – oh! March 10th – can be said for 9 days as a Novena.  As I finally made my way out of the church, there was a big sign for the “St. Joseph Feast Day – Parish Dinner!”  OK, I hear ya. 

I was telling Mike about this and said that I’d really love to have a small St. Joseph statue for in the kitchen.  He pointed out that he knew where one was buried!  Rather than, under the cloak of darkness (and an act of total weirdness), digging up the guy we left in the backyard at the old house, the Easter bunny will be bringing me a new, fresh St. Joseph.  I found one that I love and that will, of course, also remind me of dad.  St. Joseph even has on HIS work clothes – robes and apron – and is holding a couple of tools.

I’m a big fan.  

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