Submitted by Guilherme “G” Lopes, MPS
Director of Campus Ministry
Happy Feast of St. Joseph - I want to begin by sharing St. Josephs famous quote, “_________”
It’s a funny moment because Joseph does not say anything in scripture, but his actions speak so loudly.
On the 150th anniversary of St. Joseph becoming the patrol of the universal church, Pope Francis released an Apostolic Letter called Patris Corde (With a Father's Love). The letter and the call for the year of St. Joseph called people by surprise. It seemed that no one knew this was coming, including those close to Pope Francis. Pope Francis was said to be discerning on what message to bring the people during this difficult year of COVID-19 and everywhere he would go and pray, St. Joseph was present. From there, he entered into deeper prayer with St. Jospeh, and his heart was moved to write this letter. I believe Pope Francis wanted us to feel the loved that Christ felt by his adopted father.
St. Joseph has quite a few titles that he’s known by:
- Patron of the Catholic Church
- Patron of the Workers
- Patron of a Happy Death
- The Working Father
- Guardian of the Redeemer
- The Most Chaste Spouse
- Terror of Demons
- Creatively Courageous Father
I want to just share on two of his titles: Creatively Courageous Father and The Terror of Demons.
The Terror of Demons
St. Joseph is a human, born with original sin, but entrusted as the guardian of the Holy family. What makes him considered the Terror of Demons is his unshakeable trust in God.
People are afraid of being creative. “What if it doesn’t work, or go our way, or what if I don’t get what I want?” Fear is the number weapon of the Evil one. To doubt God’s plan for us, for our lives.
Evil wants us to be afraid. Too often we think God only works through our better parts. How often do we see those who are most broken leading us closer to Christ? Look throughout scripture: St. Paul, St. Peter, etc. If we point fingers and judge others, those are all signs of an inability to accept our own fragility. We fall into the snares of the accuser. We know God’s love, His truth does not condemn, but welcomes, embraces, sustains, and forgives us
The foundation of St. Joseph is his trust in God. St. Josephs trust in God is what makes him fearless. It allows his courage to flourish. It allows him to get up not once, but four times after a dream and just does what he’s asked to do.
Where can you trust God more? Where does the evil one convinces you in your life that you aren’t good enough, you aren’t smart enough, or whatever. Pray to St. Josephs and ask him to guide you to a stronger foundation in trust, in God.
Creatively Courageous Father
Pope Francis writes, “In the face of difficulty, we can ether give up and walk away, or somehow engage with it. At times, difficulties bring our resources we did not even think we had.”
Joseph wanted to divorce Mary quietly. If you are not familiar with the culture of the time, infidelity would have meant stoning to death. Instead, instructed by God through the angel in a dream, He got up, embraced the situation, and left with faith. St. Joseph did not look for shortcuts, but confronted reality with open eyes and accepted responsibility for it.
Throughout this pandemic, were we not all presented with challenges we did not ask for? The students, faculty and staff – could you not just coast through the rest of the year? We could all be home right now, working remotely because for some that could just be the easy thing to do. Instead – like Jesus did with the cross, you embraced the difficulty. You embraced the endless zoom meetings, or Teams glitches. You embraced the online learning, the lack of participation, the pushing you out of your comfort zone teaching. You embraced technology.
There were no shortcuts with this pandemic. You wear a mask, you distance, you this or that. All to keep each other safe. Just as St. Joseph did with his family to do everything to keep them safe, you acted courage to do the very same with your family and this community.
Lastly, to share a personal devotion to St. Joseph. My favorite chapel in the entire world is this small chapel in Stony Point, NY – the Marian Shrine. The entire shrine is dedicated to every Mary you can possibly imagine. But there is this small little chapel in the retreat center that is dedicated to St. Joseph. In there, is where I had my first encounter with Christ. I, myself, do not have a good relationship with my earthly father. But, the lender love of St. Joseph lead me to his son.
When I applied for this position, I had no idea that the chapel was named St. Joseph's Chapel. My first day on campus, Megan Norris gave me a tour of campus, and we entered into the chapel. It connects that this chapel was the chapel of St. Joseph. In that moment, St. Joseph, through his tender love, lead me to Cabrini, and to Christ.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil. Amen.