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Lenten Reflection Day 39 – St. Joseph, Lover of Poverty Part II

 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 we hear again of the betrayal of Jesus by Judas.  The Gospel tells us that Judas accepted 30 pieces of silver for betraying, but we also know that after the deed was done, Judas abandoned the silver and fled from the elders who paid him for his betrayal.  There are many things in life which tempt us to betray truth – greed, lust, envy, hatred, desperation – but sometimes we act in opposition to what is right and good because we do not fully understand it, and when you add the pressure of society to reject obedience for indulgence, then it becomes even easier to abandon truth.  When Judas betrayed Jesus, he allowed societal pressure and money to tempt him from serving what was good and just, but our sin has the same consequences as Judas’ betrayal as our sinfulness was the cause that nailed Christ to the cross, and this is precisely why Jesus told his followers that they must abandon all they have if they are to truly follow him.

Our attachment to temporal affairs only serves to provide means for us to choose those affairs over following God’s Will.  God desires us to be joyful, but sometimes that necessitates choosing what is right and just over what seems to make us happy in the moment.  Joy is different than happiness in that joy is a condition of the heart and happiness is an emotion.  We come to know joy when we open our hearts to God’s Will and follow the path to righteousness which Jesus gives us, but sometimes this means denying ourselves of something we want in the moment so that we can avoid occasions of sin which only serve to separate us from Christ.  There is a gift in poverty which we often dislike examining as it calls us to do as Jesus encouraged and abandon all to follow him.  We must embrace a poverty which allows us to recognize things as a means to an end but serving no eternal reward so that we can focus on what matters most in this world which is striving to be the Father’s work by doing his Will and making Jesus known and loved.

St. Joseph embraced the poverty Jesus speaks of when Jesus tells his followers to abandon all to follow him.  All that St. Joseph treasured most – his career, his status in the community, his reputation – were completely dismissed once they became a deterrent to serving Jesus.  Had St. Joseph chosen his reputation, his wealth or even the comforts of his familiar life over doing God’s Will – had he chosen temporal affairs – then Jesus would have been neglected the vigilant protector who tended to his needs at his most vulnerable time in life.  In embracing Poverty, St. Joseph could truly put the needs of Jesus before his own needs.  St. Joseph succeeded in serving Jesus where Judas failed, and the main difference resided in St. Joseph’s willingness to detach from all temporal affairs which may have brought happiness in exchange for the joy of knowing and loving the person of Jesus Christ – may we learn by his example and embrace the Poverty of St. Joseph!

 

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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