Year of St. Joseph

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - January 22, 2021 - 12:00am

Pope Francis has declared year 2021 as the Year of St. Joseph that spans from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. It is meant to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the foster father of Christ as patron of the universal Church.

So, the year 2021 is made even more significant to us, since aside from the celebration of the fifth centenary of Christianity in the Philippines, we also have this celebration of the importance of St. Joseph in our life.

The two celebrations need not compete but rather mutually help with each other. To be sure, the life and example of St. Joseph can help us greatly in making our Christianity more meaningful. The Year of St. Joseph should not distract us from the celebration of the fifth centenary of our Christianity.

Let’s remember that if there’s anybody more knowledgeable about how to take care of Christ and how to follow him closely, which is what Christianity is all about, it would be St. Joseph together, of course, with Our Lady from whom he cannot be separated.

The original and model earthly family of which all of us are supposed to form part is that of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. We should constantly refer ourselves to them so that little by little we can see that we are truly becoming part of the Holy Family as we should.

In this regard, Pope Francis has given us some pointers on how we can learn precious lessons from St. Joseph in his Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (With the heart of a father). He offers seven bullet points on how we have to regard St. Joseph and what we can learn from him.

First is that St. Joseph is “A beloved father. The greatness of Saint Joseph is that he was the spouse of Mary and the father of Jesus. In this way, he placed himself, in the words of Saint John Chrysostom, ‘at the service of the entire plan of salvation’”.

Second is that he is “a tender and loving father.” He saw Jesus grow daily in wisdom, year and divine and human favor, teaching him to walk, taking him by the hand, etc.

Third is that he is “an obedient father.” He acted immediately on what was revealed to him in a dream by an angel.

Fourth is that he is “an accepting father.” Though he had to face situations where he could not understand many things and may even appear as unfair to him, he just accepted what was told to him without any question.

Fifth is that he is “a creatively courageous father.” He knew how to take advantage of difficulties to develop more virtues and to deepen and strengthen them, never saying enough.

Sixth is that he is “a working father.” He highlighted the true dignity of human work, any kind of work, including those that in our human estimation, we consider lowly.

Seventh is that he is “a father in the shadows.” He did his role as foster father of Christ without attracting unnecessary attention. He was always in the background, with mind and heart fully focused on Christ.

Let’s hope that these considerations that Pope Francis is suggesting to us in this Year of St. Joseph help us to be like him, so that like him we would know how to deal with Christ, with Mary and everybody else!

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