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Lenten Reflection Day 31 – St. Joseph, Most Graced

Opening Prayer:

Lord, you tell us to pray, ask and seek in your name with humble, watchful, persevering, and confident hearts.  I come to you this day and ask for your inspiration as I seek to do your Divine Will, and to make you known and loved in my home and community. Amen.

 

Reflection:

As Catholics we have the opportunity to experience the love of Christ just as the woman in today’s Gospel when we participate in the sacrament of Confession.  The woman was brought to Jesus by a mob to see if he would enforce the law and have the woman killed.  Jesus tells the crowd who stands ready to stone her that the person among them who is sinless to throw the first stone.  It is interesting to note that the scriptures state the mob disperses “one by one, beginning with the elders”.  The older we become and the more we witness, the more our world view changes and we see a more complete picture when it comes to the very real struggle of the moral life.  As we get older we grow wiser, but we also begin to think much less of ourselves as we attain a maturity which illuminates the reality that we are temporal creatures, and when our time does come to leave this world, the world will in fact continue operating without us.

This understanding of just how brief our lives are should inspire us to make sure we make the most of it, and that includes humbling ourselves to realize our inadequacies and embracing the avenues which the Church provides us to encounter God’s grace.  Once the crowd has dispersed, Jesus then speaks to the woman and tells her that she is forgiven and that she must “go and sin no more”.  We encounter that same grace of forgiveness through Jesus when we go to confession, however the important part at the end is that we are to do our best not to return to our sinfulness.  It is only by grace that we can hope to even attempt participating in God’s Will through the example of Christ’s teachings.  To  be “perfect as the Father is perfect”, to “love as the Father loves”, to “forgive so that we can be forgiven” and now we are to “go and sin no more” – we can do none of this fully on our own, which is why we need the graces given to us through the sacramental life of the Bride of Christ, the Church.

St. Joseph was inadequate on his own account to care for Jesus and to be the man who would teach the Son of God how to live as a man who loves God and follows His commands.  St. Joseph had to rely on God’s grace to make up for his own brokenness, but God took his willing servant and through mercy and grace conformed his inadequacies to his own perfect Will, which ultimately provided the most perfect example possible for Jesus.  St. Joseph teaches us that when we embrace our inadequacies and humble ourselves before God, we can tend to the very needs of Jesus himself, which for us today is to minister to a lost and broken world.  Jesus said that what we do for the least of our brothers we do for him, so when we take the example of St. Joseph and seek the avenues to God’s grace which can transform our limitedness into more perfect expressions of God’s Will, then we can minister to Jesus himself by lifting up those he loves but have been forgotten.

Conforming our hearts to participate with God’s Will necessitates Confession as it is the means Jesus gives us to be freed from the bondage sin creates and reconciles us to God.  Man cannot serve two masters fully, so we must choose sin or God – when we go to confession, we choose God.  Although it can be uncomfortable, embarrassing or even scary for us to go to Confession, knowing that Jesus waits to receive us in that sacrament and rejoices with us when we willingly participate, we should be empowered to boldly go and embrace our brokenness so that we can be made more perfect.  Just as the elders were to first to go, as the spiritual leaders in our families we too should be the first to go to Confession and be like St. Joseph to those we love and give example by our deeds and boldness.

 

 Closing Prayer:

St. Joseph, help me be like you.  Help me to be obedient to the teachings of the Church and faithful to God’s commands.  Help me to patiently endure my cross each day.  Let me be a model of holiness and a pillar of virtue.  I solemnly promise to embrace God’s will and I accept the challenge to work tirelessly for my family’s salvation.  Be my guide and companion on this journey.  St. Joseph, Terror of Demons, pray for us.

About Zachary Morgan

Executive Director of the Men of St. Joseph. Zachary is a native of West Virginia and currently lives in Minnesota with his wife Anne and six children. Zachary served the local church in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis working in Liturgy, Marriage Preparation, Religious Education and Advocacy for the past 11 years before becoming the Executive Director for the Men of St. Joseph.

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