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Turning to St. Joseph during time of division

By Bishop Terry R. LaValley

January 13, 2021

During the first thirty years of His life on this earth, Jesus must have spent much time by Joseph’s side, learning the carpentry trade where, in all likelihood, He built tables, chairs, and various types of furniture. Not only did the Lord learn the craftmanship of carpentry, Joseph, the faithful Jew, also taught Jesus about the Father, providing Him with some of the human tools Jesus would need when He set out to build the Father’s Kingdom.

As you know, we have consecrated this year to St. Joseph. At this time of high anxiety and uncertainty, we know we can turn to St. Joseph, who also experienced fear as he reflected on what was asked of him. We can appreciate Joseph’s own devout faith in the face of the doubt and uncertainty he encountered as he took Mary as his wife and then struggled to find a place for the Child to be born when all the doors were closed to them. Joseph must have known fear when, at divine prompting, he protected the newborn Child and Mother from violence by escaping through the desert to the unknown land of Egypt. Through it all, Joseph quietly trusted. He didn’t have all the answers, but he trusted in God and acted upon that trust.

This has certainly been a year of instability and uncertainty for us. The pandemic and politics have revealed deep differences in the way that we look at life and in the way we relate to one another. Yesterday’s frightening and surreal episode at our nation’s Capitol was shameful and embarrassing evidence of our fractured, degraded state. We are in such need of healing and reconciliation. All sorts of emotions have surfaced within us: fear, anger, disgust, shame, discouragement, a sense of hopelessness.

Let us go to Joseph. We bring to the carpenter of faith our troubled minds and aching hearts. We make the words of this prayer our own and seek the intercession of this holy carpenter as we face the headwinds before us as a nation, a Church, and as family.

Joseph, you were a man who carried into dark of anxious sleep
the haunting mystery of deep, unsettled doubt.
But yet, within, and all untouched, your citadel of trust was calm, serene and still
and flamed your unstarred night into the answering of dawn in God’s unchanging will.
O carpenter of faith, build our inwardness into a city lamped with trust;
and when we, too, must face the nights and tread the desert’s way,
let us, like you, take Mother and Child into the Egypt of each day.

Good St. Joseph, come to our aid in these times of anguish and difficulty.
Take under your protection the critical and troubling circumstances of the day. Keep us calm and serene, so aware of your Presence. AMEN.

As we celebrated the Lord’s baptism on Sunday, we are reminded that we are all sisters and brothers in Christ. Let us pray for our nation and for one another, that each of us might be instruments of God’s peace. We recommit ourselves to respect for the human person and civility in our culture. We can, we must do better! God bless you and your loved ones.

Our Lady, Queen of Peace and Patroness of our Diocese and of America, Pray for Us All!

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