Dec. 7, 2018

In Saint Joseph's Workshop

Image result for San Jose carpintero

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

 

I see Saint Joseph standing, dressed in bright glory, the lily leaning on his chest…

The Flame tells me that he was the perfect man.

Stemming from a rich and flourishing race, he lowered himself to become the poorest and the humblest servant. He took very little rest, and his hours flowed in prayer. The Angels stood beside each other to collect the dew of his multiplied devotions. His prayer was like an incense rising to Heaven. From morning to night, he had but one thought: the eternal presence of God.

Saint Joseph, the oldest of the Holy Family, felt impelled to place himself under the obedience of Jesus and Mary, although he wore white hair and wrinkles on his forehead. He spoke very little to people except those who gave him his bread with work.

A woman lived very close to the workshop where, often, they all met together: he, Jesus and Mary. This woman, possessed by a culpable jealousy, came to insult Joseph who was alone in his workshop. Before the invectives of the foreigner, he dropped his tool, raised his eyes to Heaven, in adoration of the Infinite Eternal, and answered only this word:

“My sister, if you knew the gifts of the one who frequents this workshop and dares of his Creator hands, to stir the instrument that I use, if you knew his gifts, you would respect this place and my old age.”

Jesus resolved to punish this criminal insult, but Joseph supplicated to be merciful, and he obtained her pardon.

[Source: p. 34, Le ciel en colloque avec Marie-Julie Jahenny, by Pierre Roberdel].

 

Reflection :

Within Saint Joseph’s life are encapsulated the means to live the holiest life during this painful exile.

We are, first of all, to pray without ceasing, keeping our hearts and minds on Eternity: “He took very little rest, and his hours flowed in prayer. The Angels stood beside each other to collect the dew of his multiplied devotions. His prayer was like an incense rising to Heaven. From morning to night, he had but one thought: the eternal presence of God.”

Secondly, Saint Joseph did his daily duty, and we are to do ours. Saint Joseph earned his bread; that is, he supported himself and his family through his daily labour as a carpenter. He spent his days in his workshop. Metaphorically, we can say that Saint Joseph’s workshop was his life.

Thirdly, we are to place ourselves under obedience to Jesus and Mary, no matter our age: He “felt impelled to place himself under the obedience of Jesus and Mary, although he wore white hair and wrinkles on his forehead.”

Fourthly, we are to stay close to Christ and the Blessed Virgin Mary: “often, they all met together [in his workshop]: he, Jesus and Mary.”

Fifthly, while we are in this exile, surrounded by those who are without the Faith, we are to not seek friendships with acquaintances and neighbours: “He spoke very little to people except those who gave him his bread with work.”

When persons are aggressive to us because of our prayerful and humble way of life, we are to rebuke them gently and honestly, without anger or pride. We do not know what the neighbour woman has done to Saint Joseph, but he addresses himself to her truthfully but charitably, never attacking her personally: “ ‘My sister, if you knew the gifts of the one who frequents this workshop and dares of his Creator hands, to stir the instrument that I use, if you knew his gifts, you would respect this place and my old age.’ ”

Lastly, we are to intercede for God’s Mercy for all of our detractors and enemies, even when we see that God will (or may) punish them: “Jesus resolved to punish this criminal insult, but Joseph supplicated to be merciful, and he obtained her pardon.”

It is truly apparent to all who read of Saint Joseph’s life that he was the perfect man, and thus the perfect model of manliness and fatherhood to the young Jesus Christ.

Let us show Christ our Lord that we too can be brave and good in the midst of suffering through our lives in exile. Let us ask Saint Joseph to inspire us daily, starting with today.

Tomorrow, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, let us be together in prayer before the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin. Holy Mother of God, pray for us!

Deo gratias!

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