I have been desiring to write this blog for some time, and alas, I have the time this evening!
A few years ago, while in college, I stumbled across a book about St. Joseph, a man often overlooked in salvation history. The book is called Joseph the Silent. As I thumbed through the pages of this book, with its short chapters, I was immersed into a world of virtue about a man I realized I knew so little. Virtues such as obedience, humility, work ethic, self-discipline, charity, peace, and on and on jumped out at me, and I rediscovered an influence in Christ's life, that, without his yes, Jesus would have not obtained holiness as He had. I could go on about this person so close to Christ, someone we should pray to everyday, however I would like to share a little about the St. Joseph's in my life.
The first is my dad. My dad, Chuck, and I are similar in our stubborn and perfectionistic personalities =) however he takes the lead when it comes to humility. My dad is one of the most humble men I know and he has always taught me to "keep Jesus close." I look back at all of the times my father put his own desires and needs aside for my sisters, my mom, and I and I truly pray I can do this half as much as him. His motto of keeping life simple resonates with me even more as I make choices in my own family, and it has comforted me in knowing the true treasures of life are not found in material wealth or having it "all." My dad has made my sisters and I work for things in our life, such as college, cars, and wedding(s), which has taught me the virtues of self-discipline and sacrifice. He has also taught me "tough love" - especially in the hardest times in my life - where, without this type of love, I would not have arisen from off my knees. He is a model of love and sacrifice that I am honored to have, and he will always be my first notion of who God is and how God loves.
The second Joseph I have in my life is my husband. Michael has been more of a man than I ever prayed for and more of a man than I deserve as a wife. I am constantly humbled by the level of sacrifice he has for me, our family, and our home. He'll probably hate me for pointing this out, but he daily shows his love from the moment he wakes up (at 4am to be at work by 5:00), to spending 10-12 hours at work (usually accompanied by a sandwich and note from me), to coming home and working on our house until it's time for bed - ready to do it all again the next day. Aside from sharing our "highs and lows" from the day, he rarely complains, and when he does it is usually out of love. He will be the first to claim fault for any wrongdoing, which has shown me the example of seeking forgiveness and allowing God to humble us for the benefit of others. Because of his example, I find myself complaining less about the trials of my daily life and I also find myself thinking less about the things Michael "doesn't" do for me. This is not meant to brag about him or myself, but rather to shed light on a man I am blessed to have share his life with me.
This Christmas, for our gift to one another, we exchanged love letters. Of course women LOVE getting love letters, however, I wasn't as giddy as I thought I'd be when receiving my letter from Michael. I realized it is because he shows me everyday, and for this I am eternally grateful.
I challenge you all to meditate more on the life of St. Joseph and how he can influence us in the ways of virtue. As Pope Benedict XVI says,
"(Joseph) was the model of a 'just' man (Matthew 1:19) who, in perfect harmony with his wife, welcomed the Son of God made man and watched over his human growth...His silence is steeped in contemplation of the mystery of God in an attitude of total availability to the divine desires...It is a silence thanks to which Joseph, in unison with Mary, watches over the Word of God, known through the sacred Scriptures, continuously comparing it with the events of the life of Jesus; a silence woven of constant prayer, a prayer of blessing of the Lord, of the adoration of His holy will and of unreserved entrustment to his providence..."