For me, St. Joseph has remained in the background of my spiritual life, as an untapped resource. How sad! Servant of God, Archbishop Luis Martinez (1881-1956), the late Archbishop of Mexico City,in Meditations to Prepare for Christmas, helps us realize how important St. Joseph is for us, as a role model and intercessor in the spiritual life. Martinez writes, “To receive Jesus we have to prepare a manger for Him in our souls; but we also need a St. Joseph there; that is to say, we need both humility and fidelity.” If we take the late Archbishop at his word and then study the lives of the Saints, like Saint Andre Bessette (1845-1937), a faithful devotee to St. Joseph and a simple brother in the Congregation of the Holy Cross, we see that miracles await us if we invite St. Joseph into our lives and follow his virtues beginning this Christmas.
How are we to do that? Saint Andre Bessette models for us the way to let St.Joseph gather devotion in our hearts. Brother Andre, as he was called, had the proper disposition of heart to receive every heavenly gift for those he prayed for through the hands of St. Joseph. He was very humble and attributed all the success of his healing ministry to the prayers of St. Joseph on his behalf. On average, there was one person healed everyday, for the thirty years of his ministry through St. Bessette’s simple faith and prayers to God through St. Joseph.
What was this proper disposition of heart that Saint Andre ha,d that made him so similar to and intimate with St. Joseph? It was his humility. From an early age, he desired to serve God but couldn’t through his simple human energies. He was humbled through all of his health issues which drew numerous religious congregations to reject him, prior to entering the Congregation of the Holy Cross, for he just did not have the stamina to do the necessary work. For the Congregation of the Holy Cross, he simply answered the door at Notre Dame College in Quebec, and had additional duties as sacristan, laundry worker and messenger. He reportedly said, “When I joined this community, the superiors showed me the door, and there I remained 40 years.”
What did Brother Andre and St. Joseph have in common? A concern for simply following God’s will, however it came to them, often dressed in a “distressing disguise.” He trusted that God loved him, and that St. Joseph’s way of doing “what ever he shows/tells him to do” would not steer him in the wrong direction. What about you? Do you find joy, contentment in doing the simple things in life that God shows you are important? This Christmas, rejoice when your human limitations surface, and difficulties surround you, for then you can receive God’s over the top love more fully. ~Mary