Posted On March 1, 2024

Joseph, hidden presence

On March 19 we will celebrate the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, the only feast of its kind during Lent 2024 (the Annunciation is transferred after Easter this year). May this short reflection help us to draw near to Joseph and let him care for us in his uniquely fatherly way.

“Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide in times of trouble. Saint Joseph reminds us that those who appear hidden or in the shadows can play an incomparable role in the history of salvation.” — Apostolic Letter Patris Corde, Pope Francis

This who appear hidden or in the shadows… how many of us can relate to this? If you’re reading this, it’s more likely that you just changed a child’s diaper or are on your lunch break after writing code all morning. You probably didn’t just create the newest Instagram trend or end up finding the cure to cancer.

“Each of us can discover in Joseph – the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence – an intercessor, a support and a guide.” You may know the often-cited observation that St. Joseph is never recorded speaking a word in the Gospels. He is known for his silence, more than for his speech. He isn’t quotable, like Jesus or Mary or the apostles. He is in many ways the man who goes unnoticed, a daily, discreet and hidden presence, as Pope Francis describes.

How comforting that we can turn to Joseph in the most quiet, mundane of circumstances. We can go to him when we must carry a secret silently and discreetly. We can go to him when we feel hidden or unnoticed. We can go to  him with our doubts and questions: is what I’m doing even making a difference? He knows. Joseph understands. No one knew in that moment, but he was the guardian of the Virgin, the protector of the Child Jesus. No one knew, but the Father who had entrusted all this to Joseph knew, and Joseph knew how he was called to obey. This is the stuff of salvation.

As we celebrate St. Jospeh, let us remember that “the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16): to the childlike, the poor, the hidden, the little ones. Joseph understands. This is the stuff of salvation.

Meditation written by Sr. Ruth, AVI.

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