As you receive this issue of the SSpS MISSION, we are already over two months into the “Year of St. Joseph” declared by our Holy Father Francis from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021. The eyes of your heart might still behold the silent, tender, caring presence of St. Joseph from your Nativity set or a Christmas card. The title of the Pope’s Apostolic Letter by which he proclaimed the Year of St. Joseph, takes inspiration from such an image “Patris corde” “With a father’s love”.
When I first heard these descriptive words about the person of Joseph, a sacred picture which I saw many years ago came to my mind. The title of the picture was “First Steps”. There it was, the toddler Jesus between the supportive hands of Mary and Joseph. Their eyes totally focused on their Boy and their postures leaning toward him. As any parents, they were proud of the progress he was making. Such a delightful, warming, down to earth depiction of the Holy Family!
The Apostolic Letter proposes a similar image, St. Joseph who is close to us, who is like us, how we can be like him! The singular source of St. Joseph’s greatness is that “he was ever ready to carry out God’s will”. He was much more a witness of the events of God’s plan of salvation, than an object of them. Therefore, we don’t have his words, yet his actions have spoken to the earliest believers and through the centuries to the Church. St. Joseph is the man “called by God to serve the person and the mission of Jesus.” I would like to propose that we pick up our Bible and read one of the accounts of the life of Jesus, preferable by Mathew, pay attention to the role of Joseph. How quickly he goes unnoticed! Yet Jesus grew up, experienced the world of family and village life, being loved ‘with a father’s heart’.
Pope Francis makes a strong link between the life of St. Joseph and the current situation of the pandemic. Humanity (each of us) lives in a situation of uncertainty which calls us to exercise an attitude of acceptance, patient and hope-filled waiting. (Joseph learning about Mary being pregnant, having to flee to Egypt.) An important aspect the Pope calls our attention to are the many often unnoticed people, who like Joseph, courageously serve us during the pandemic. Essential workers in a variety of jobs and services courageously carry out their duties so that life can go on. Their sense of responsibility and faithfulness benefit all of us. The Holy Father remembers those who are shut up in homes, the suffering and the dying. St. Joseph was always the protector, the one to ‘go to’ in need, desperation, and bewilderment. He was the provider for the Holy Family and thus the Protector of the Church. Joseph provided for Mary and Jesus being the “shadow of Father’s love”. He is known to take care of our needs. He cares for and protects the Church, reminding us that we too are called to do the same as we tend to the poor, the immigrant, the sick because: “As you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Mt 25:40).
We, Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters, are an international religious community of women disciples. Empowered by the Holy Spirit we invite people to a deeper communion with the Triune God by living and proclaiming the Gospel of joy, love, peace, and justice. In dialogue with people of diverse cultures and traditions, we minister together with them in promoting human dignity, life-giving relationships, and care for all of creation. To learn more about the Vocations Ministry and SSpS please click here.