Saint Joseph Teaches Us to Be Receptive to Grace
Saint Joseph, the beloved foster father and protector of Mary and Jesus, cooperated with the grace of God to help bring Jesus into our world. Joseph teaches us how, we too, can journey with Mary and Jesus and welcome them into our hearts and homes. The force that moved so profoundly within the Holy Family was grace. The undeserved yet freely given gift of God’s Holy Spirit working deep within us, which helps us know, love, and serve God. Since Mary is full of grace, we can deduce that grace comes with exceptional power and blessings.
Grace is undeserved, unmerited, unearned—simply pure gift. Gifts, to realize their full potential, must be received, opened, and used. Saint Joseph had a receptive heart, prepared like Mary, through a life of prayer and obedience to the God they knew and trusted. Saint Joseph stands as an amazing example to the common man who wants to accomplish God’s will but may sometimes be troubled to understand it. Although the odds are against an angel guiding us in a dream, we can be assured that when we ask, God will answer and direct our steps.
With faith and trust, Joseph bravely led the family to Bethlehem, Egypt, and back to Nazareth. Saint Joseph protected the Holy Family physically; in following his model, do we do the same in the spiritual sense? Do we protect (and honor) the Holy Family’s place in our hearts, homes, and even our communities? Are we, like Joseph, willing to sacrifice our plans, hopes, dreams to accomplish the even greater ones God has for us?
A man of great honor, righteousness, and virtue, Joseph models for us a loving surrender to the Will of God. His reward is a close bond with the Son of God and His blessed and beloved Mother. This reward awaits each of us as well when we open our hearts to welcome Jesus in.
Like Mary and Joseph, prayer needs to be the center of our lives so that we are rooted and grounded in His love cultivating a receptive heart. Joseph, a devout Jew, most likely prayed the Psalms daily. We, too, need to turn to the Scriptures daily to be prepared to welcome Jesus and be open to whatever mission we may be called to in sharing Jesus with the world. Interestingly, the practice of praying all 150 Psalms by monks who first used rocks to keep count, then transitioned to knotted ropes, has been correlated to the development of our modern-day Rosary.
Father Patrick Peyton once said, “Every night I would hear my mother call us to pray, and then my father would lead us in the Holy Rosary. To see a man who lived totally what he believed left an impression on me, even as a little child, that nothing could erase.” Saint Joseph led his family in prayer, and stands as a model for those not blessed to have a father like Father Peyton’s, so to witness a man who lived totally what he believed.
In addition to the scriptures, daily prayer, like the Rosary, provides an avenue of communication to Heaven, which is crucial to living a life in union with Christ. When Joseph first encountered Jesus at the Nativity, how his heart must have burst with joy to behold his Savior. With a heart like his, we may all experience that moment when we recognize Jesus, hearts overcome with joy, and we too welcome Him into our family.
This October, the Month of the Rosary, “Go to Joseph.” Grow in the faith with your family. Global Prayer Campaign filled with videos, eBooks, podcasts, prayers, reflections, social posts, everything you need for a rich, faith-filled month.
About Allison Gingras
Allison Gingras created the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women (OSV), including "The Gift of Invitation" and "Seeking Peace: A Spiritual Journey from Worry to Trust." She shares the Catholic faith with honesty, humor, and experiences from every life. Allison is the national WINE Steward for WINE: Women In the New Evangelization, and a Social Media Consultant for the Fall River Diocese and CatholicMom.com.