As the Year of St. Joseph begins in the Church, Barb Szyszkiewicz ponders what this quiet saint can teach us.
Lately, during the quiet prayer time after Communion, something has been catching my eye. At this time of year, the sun slants just right to cast brilliant reflections from one of the stained glass windows onto a century-old statue of St. Joseph.
I’ve never really paid attention to that statue before.
To be honest, I’ve never really paid attention to St. Joseph before.
But in that quiet time, I look at that statue and I think about the saint. I reel in my thoughts from where they are trying to wander (I’m a mom, and a multitasker, and my thoughts are always wandering) and I think about what St. Joseph has to teach me.
This has been a fruitful distraction. After all, I could contemplate far worse things after Communion than what I can learn from a saint.
Everything we know about St. Joseph shows his caring love, his protectiveness, his sacrificial nature. Without saying a word, he shows us how to live.
Many times, we put our saints in boxes. Mary is a saint for women, and particularly mothers, we think. Men, and particularly fathers, have St. Joseph. And of course Mary is a beautiful patroness for women and mothers, and St. Joseph a wonderful patron for men and fathers.
But why should we limit the saints in that way?
Today, Pope Francis has proclaimed a Year of St. Joseph, beginning today (December 8, 2020) through December 8, 2021. The pope has also released an apostolic letter about St. Joseph, titled Patris Corde (With a Father’s Heart), and I am going to make it my business to read it in the days ahead.
We have so much to learn from St. Joseph. Seek out ways he is portrayed in art — like the statue in my church. Most statues show St. Joseph carrying carpenter’s tools, but not this one. In this statue, he holds the toddler Jesus in one arm, and Jesus is grasping his other hand in that way young children do when they’re being held by someone they love and trust.
God trusted St. Joseph with the care of the Holy Family. We, too, can trust St. Joseph.
This year, let yourself be distracted by St. Joseph. Let him lead you to Jesus.
Copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz
Image copyright 2020 Barb Szyszkiewicz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom of 3 young adults, and a Secular Franciscan. She is editor at CatholicMom.com. Barb enjoys writing, cooking, and reading, and is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count. Her booklet, The Handy Little Guide to Prayer, is coming in May 2021 from Our Sunday Visitor.