Joseph – The Dreamer

As we close the season of Advent, it seems like a good opportunity to reflect on our patron, St. Joseph and his role in the birth of Jesus. Here is a reflection by Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ Advent Peace,
Mary Kay

Joseph - McGrath

This image is the artwork of Brother Mickey McGrath, OSM who shared his art, wit and wisdom with us this Advent at the CSJ Motherhouse. To see more of his work and to purchase it visit http://www.EmbracedbyGod.org.

“He received her into his home as his wife.”
Was it good news for Joseph when the angel appeared and told him about Isaiah’s “virgin with child”? Was he thrilled that Mary would give birth to a baby boy called Immanuel? The angel was speaking, we may presume, of the woman Joseph loved. “Have no fear about taking Mary as your wife. It is by the Holy Spirit that she has conceived this child.” This was supposed to be a consoling message, given as it was by an angel. But I’ve wondered now and then whether Joseph ever had any negative thoughts about the whole thing. Is it possible that he experienced a tiny twinge of jealousy about the Holy Spirit? This may seem preposterous to say, but at times Joseph may have wondered whether it was a dream he had or a nightmare. I’ve often thought about the incident in somewhat literal, realistic terms. Here is this man betrothed to a woman who is going to bear a child that is not his own “flesh and blood.” Everything is already worked out: the child will be a boy and have the name of Jesus. It’s one thing to believe that such an event could occur. It is quite another to accept it and take joy in it. I wonder if Joseph ever felt he was in some way robbed. Anyway, when Joseph awoke, he did as the angel directed and welcomed Mary into his home. Even if we assume that Joseph was happy with the prospect of being a foster father to this future savior of his people, things did not work out very well. In fact, just about everything was botched up. Instead of security and comfort, they found themselves facing a treacherous journey during the last stage of Mary’s pregnancy. So much for well-wrought plans that any father, foster or not, would want to make. They would have no suitable place to stay, no family or friends around. The earliest days would be full of fear and flight. The first ceremony in the temple would be marred by the ominous prediction of an old seer that his son would he rejected and his wife would have her very soul pierced. After the early years of migration and displacement, even when the family finally settled down, there was more trouble. The lad would he misplaced in Jerusalem and, after a three-day search, he would show up reminding them that he had another “Father” who made a greater claim on him. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus, was the man who would be Christians’ historic image of the good provider, the protector. Did he feel like that, this man of flesh and blood, this decent and just man? Was it a struggle for him to believe that any good would come of it? Whatever he may have felt, as an earthly father he must have died a thousand deaths caring for that woman and child, both of whom he had accepted in faith as belonging finally to One other than himself. So it is with every true parent, every true spouse. He became our patron of a happy death. This probably happened because he was thought to have died in their presence. It may also be because by then he was such a free and open man.
John Kavanaugh, S. J.

Father Kavanaugh was a professor of Philosophy at St. Louis University in St. Louis. His untimely death has been a grief for the many people he reached during his lifetime.

Copyright © 1997 by John F. Kavanaugh. All rights reserved. Used by permission from Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York 10545-0308

THE WORD EMBODIED: Meditations on the Sunday Scriptures Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York (1998), pp. 9-10. To purchase or learn more about other books written by Fr. Kavanaugh, go to http://www.maryknollmall.org/ and type Kavavaugh next to the SEARCH button

An Advent Examination

In the wake of Ferguson, it seems like a good year to take some time during Advent to examine our hearts to see how we can make our city and our world a fitting birthplace for the Prince of Peace.
candle-flames
An Advent Examination . . . . . . . . . . Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196

“Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace. By reflection and prayer, by reading and meditation, we can make our hearts a place where a blessing of peace would desire to abide and where the birth of the Prince of Peace might take place.

“Daily we can make an Advent examination. Are there any feelings of discrimination toward race, sex, or religion? Is there a lingering resentment, an unforgiven injury living in our hearts? Do we look down upon others of lesser social standing or educational achievement? Are we generous with the gifts that have been given to us, seeing ourselves as their stewards and not their owners? Are we reverent of others, their ideas and needs, and of creation? These and other questions become Advent lights by which we may search the deep, dark corners of our hearts.

Advent Peace,
Mary Kay

O Those “O Antiphons”!

Melissa Musick shares some interesting history about the “O Antiphons” of the last week before Christmas on her blog The Catholic Catalogue.

Melissa and her daughter, Anna Nussbaum Keating will be speakers in our “Together in Faith” series next July. You can find great inspiration on The Catholic Catalogue everyday.

Advent Joy,
Mary Kay

Jesus, Hope of the World

Jesus, hope of the world. Jesus, light in our darkness. Here we await you, O Master Divine. Here we receive you in bread and in wine. Jesus, hope of the world.

Come to us o son of God, Come Lord Jesus.

Come to us O Son of God, Come Lord Jesus. Come Son of God. Come Son of Man, Shepherd your people with love.

Jesus, hope of the world. Jesus, light in our darkness. Here we await you O Master DIvine. Here we receive you in bread and in wine. Jesus, hope of the world.

Advent Joy,

Mary Kay