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Saint Joseph: our role model in difficult times!

The story of the Gospel this Sunday truly amazes me in so many ways. Consider the situation: Joseph is betrothed to Mary, but after the annunciation she goes to the hill country of Judah to spend three months with Elizabeth her cousin. We could imagine that Joseph would collect her, probably excited at the prospect of seeing his beautiful fiancee again. But he is in for a devastating surprise. Naturally we don’t know when he discovered that Mary is pregnant, but it is likely that Joseph noticed a difference maybe just in Mary herself: she was with child.

It seems that Mary did not explain the situation to Joseph, and in that case it must have been a long walk back to Nazareth with an uneasy tension in the air. Maybe it was during the journey that Joseph had time to think about what to do. He probably went over and over it again, not being able to believe what had happened, not able to understand it, and not being able to come to an easy resolve.

Sometimes life can be like that. Everything seems to go the right way, everything seems to be almost perfect, and then suddenly through a slight change in the situation our world seems to collapse. From living in heaven it seems we are suddenly trust down to hell, a dark place with no obvious way out!

How would we ourselves react to this situation, what would we do? I have to admit that I would probably not be as composed as Joseph, and it testifies to his sublime charity! Joseph was concerned about Mary first of all, but also wanted to do the right thing. This meant that he decided to separate from her informally, in order that she would not be persecuted for committing adultery, while he still did the right thing in the eyes of God. Joseph did this even if it meant he could not get married himself again. He makes up his mind: this is what he is going to do, until the Angel appears to him. Saint Joseph puts all his trust in the messenger of God and takes Mary home to be his wife.

As advent draws to an end, and Christmas draws near, let Saint Joseph be a guide for us and be an example. To have the faith he had in his own time of difficulty, so we too might develop a filial trust on God. If things get rough, when it seems that time slows down and when we experience a shrinking of the world around ourselves and feel claustrophobic, faith in God can deliver us. That is exactly the moment in which we should open our hearts to God, to search for and experience the refreshing love He can give us.

Through the eyes of faith the difficulties we experience can be made bearable from the perspective of His promises, our real goal of eternal happiness. God is always waiting for us to help us, He is there to console us. But He can only do this if we allow Him and let Him in! Especially in this time of Advent, we can take time to reflect and to see more clearly what God is doing in our lives. Let us be patient, and lovingly wait for his coming. We need to wait for a few days only to see His presence again, even if at the moment it can seem so far away.


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