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Lenten Reflection Day 32 – St. Joseph the Guardian

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:

“When you lift up the Son of Man,
then you will realize that I AM,
and that I do nothing on my own,
but I say only what the Father taught me.
The one who sent me is with me.
He has not left me alone,
because I always do what is pleasing to him.”

Throughout our Lenten observances we have worked to better know Christ.  We die to ourselves in little ways so that we can more fully enter into His sufferings, but we also take on devotional observances so that we can more fully enter into the mystical nature of the person of Jesus.  In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is begging the Pharisees to open their eyes to the reality of his identity.  They cannot see him for who he is because he has not come to them in the manner they were expecting.  Jesus’ words today reiterate an important part of his identity as being one with the Father because those persecuting him refuse to acknowledge his miracles as an act of his divinity because he performed them on the Sabbath, refuse to recognize his fulfillment of the prophesies related to his birth because he was born in poor circumstances, refuse to recognize his teachings because he speaks of freeing those who follow him from spiritual bondage and they want freed from their physical bondage, and in all of their manmade expectations they miss the Will of the Father.

This Gospel serves as a severe warning for all who seek the Messiah.  We often are blinded to his presence by our own expectations, and we miss him when he is standing right in front of us.  Jesus tells the Pharisees in the Gospel that they will look for him, but they will not find him and will instead die in their sins.  Jesus is presenting himself to them as the Messiah, and still they misunderstand his words.  For Catholics, we come to Mass every Sunday and we encounter the Messiah.  He is there before us in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, the Eucharist.  We look for Jesus, yet he makes himself readily available to us, and yet many of us come to Communion in a state of serious sin, we come with hesitation as we don’t really believe that Jesus is present in the sacrament, and we come with the hearts of a cultural Catholic who are present to appease others or to play the part, and as a result, we don’t see Jesus for who he is, and we become as the Pharisees and will die in our sinfulness.

Lent is a time of contemplation and introspection, yet often we do our best to busy ourselves so much with the “doing of Lenten things” and conveniently do not have time to contemplate who Jesus is and how he makes himself present to us in the here and now.  I would like to challenge us all to take 15 minutes and think of Jesus the way that St. Joseph would have thought of Jesus.  To assist in this exercise I would like us to look at a portion of one of the oldest prayers in the Church, written in the year 50 AD, called the Ancient Prayer to St. Joseph:

“O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating thee, and Jesus asleep in thine arms.  I dare not approach while he reposes near thy heart.  Press him in my name, and kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.”

St. Joseph knew what it was to hold Jesus in his very hands, to look on his very face and adore him as he slept, and to walk with him in the world as he worked to bring salvation – and so do we!  When we approach the Blessed Sacrament during Communion, we receive Jesus just a real as when St. Joseph held him in his arms – do we approach Him with the same loving heart?  When we go to Adoration, we look on the face of Jesus just as real as when St. Joseph watched the Christ Child sleep in Mary’s arms – do we allow his true presence to compel us to visit him? After receiving the Blessed Sacrament and leaving the Mass we bring Christ out to the world just as real as when St. Joseph walked hand-in-hand with our Lord through the city streets – do we give Him a second thought after the final prayer and blessing at Mass?  St. Joseph, Guardian of Jesus, convict each and every one of us to see Jesus as you saw Him, and to guard the sanctity of the Blessed Sacrament by striving to be worthy of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.

 

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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