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Lenten Reflection Day 38 – St. Joseph, Protector of Holy Church

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:

In today’s Gospel Jesus announces to his Disciples that the end of his time on earth is near and that he will be going where they cannot immediately follow.  He also sends Judas from the meal after identifying that Judas will betray Jesus.  Today’s Gospel reminds us that just as Judas, who was one of Jesus’ closest Disciples, we can walk closely with Jesus and hear all his teachings and witness the power of his miracles but still choose our own desires over being true disciples.  Ultimately, Judas had a choice to make – would he follow Jesus who proclaimed to be the Son of God and convicted people to reject the status quo and made life rather uncomfortable for his followers, or would he follow the expectations of society and choose the path which did not require him to seem rebellious?  Judas chose the safety and comfort of the status quo, which resulted in Jesus dismissing him from his company.

There are certain aspects of following Jesus that will test our mettle, but Jesus makes it clear that his is an all-or-nothing proposition.  While he meets us where we are and does not allow the reality of our current situation to define our future, he does call us to a radical diversion from the status quo.  As Catholic men, we understand that Jesus left us the Church as a means to encounter him through the sacraments and to help us discern how his teachings 2,000 years ago are practically applicable today.  We will grapple with certain aspects of Church teaching our entire lives, and we may never come to fully accept parts before we depart this world, but as long as we seek truth for the sake of truth and have trust that the Church will not intentionally lead us astray, then we can embrace the struggle as a means to more fully become one with Jesus through discernment, prayer, sacrifice and obedience.  The other option is to take the path of Judas, and upon reaching a point in our Catholic journey where we struggle and we find the path Jesus asks us to walk too difficult, and we instead turn to answers from outside the Church to help justify our open dissension from the truth promulgated by the Bride of Christ, His Church.

Just as no spouse openly works against his/her beloved, the Church necessarily strives to make Jesus known and loved in a sinful world.  The Church has given St. Joseph the title of “Protector of Holy Church”.  When St. Joseph served Mary, he served to protect the first tabernacle on earth.  When St. Joseph served Jesus, he served the very Fount of Grace from which our sacramental life today flows.  When St. Joseph fully surrendered himself to the Will of God, he became the embodiment of Faith to which we all aspire today.  Mary was able to fulfill her Fiat and Jesus was able to grow into manhood because St. Joseph provided for their needs and ensured their safety – he was their Protector.  The Church today is most effective in her mission to make Jesus known and loved when we men assume the role of St. Joseph as her Protectors.  This path will require us to surrender ourselves to participate in prayerful discernment, sacrifice and obedience to ensure that Jesus – who is Truth – remains as our focus, and must fight the urge to allow the status quo or convenience to distract us as it distracted Judas.  When we humble ourselves to serve the Church, we ensure that Jesus remains present in every tabernacle throughout the world, and that all who seek the Fount of Grace will find it accessible to them.  St. Joseph, Protector of Holy Church, inspire us to be men of quality who choose the labor of following Jesus over the comforts of serving the world.

 

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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