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Pope considers St. Joseph’s life lessons

Pope Francis Nuns

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 12/01/21

Pope Francis urges us to take life as it comes, finding Providence at work.

Joseph’s “risk” in taking a pregnant young Mary as his bride gives us a lesson, says Pope Francis. The lesson is “to take life as it comes. Has God intervened there? I accept it.”

“Dear brothers and dear sisters,” the Pope said, “our lives are very often not what we imagine them to be.”

Many times, we feel imprisoned by what has happened to us: “But look what happened to me!” – and we remain imprisoned in that bad thing that happened to us.

Instead, the Pope encouraged, let us find the work of Providence in what comes. He reflected that “particularly in front of some circumstances in life that initially appear dramatic, a Providence is hidden that takes shape over time and illuminates the meaning even of the pain that has touched us.”

“Help each of us to allow ourselves to be surprised by God
and to accept life not as something unforeseen from which to defend ourselves,
but as a mystery that hides the secret of true joy,” he prayed to St. Jospeh.

Mary and Joseph were engaged to each other. They had probably cultivated dreams and expectations regarding their life and their future. Out of the blue, God seems to have inserted himself into their lives and, even if at first it was difficult for them, both of them opened their hearts wide to the reality that was placed before them.

Just Joseph

In this third installment in his series of catecheses on St. Joseph, Pope Francis considered the Gospel’s brief references to Joseph, as a just man, betrothed to Mary.

Upon realizing she was with child, Joseph’s “love for Mary and his trust in her suggested a way he could remain in observance of the law and save the honor of his bride.”

He chose the path of confidentiality, without a trial or retaliation. How holy Joseph was! We, as soon as we have a bit of gossip, something scandalous about someone else, we go around talking about it right away! Silent, Joseph. Silent.

God’s voice intervenes in Joseph’s plans. “In a dream, He reveals a greater meaning than [Joseph’s] own justice,” the Pope said.

How important it is for each one of us to cultivate a just life and, at the same time, to always feel the need for God’s help to broaden our horizons and to consider the circumstances of life from an always different, larger perspective.

Engaged couples

The Pope went on to address engaged or newly married couples with advice drawn from St. Joseph’s lessons. He spoke of how the infatuation of new love passes.

The first phase is always marked by a certain enchantment that makes us live immersed in the imaginary that is often not based on reality and facts – the falling in love phase.

But precisely when falling in love with its expectations seems to come to an end, that is where true love begins or true love enters in there. In fact, to love is not the pretension that the other person, or life, should correspond to our imagination.

Rather, it means to choose in full freedom to take responsibility for one’s life as it comes. This is why Joseph gives us an important lesson. He chooses Mary with “his eyes open.” We can say “with all the risks.”

In fact, to love is not the pretension that the other person, or life, should correspond to our imagination. Rather, it means to choose in full freedom to take responsibility for one’s life as it comes.

The Pope also made reference to the tense dialogue between Jesus and the Doctors of the Law found in the 8th Chapter of John’s Gospel

Think about this: in the Gospel of John, a reproof the doctors of the law make to Jesus is: “we are not children from that,” referring to prostitution. They knew how Mary had remained pregnant and they wanted to throw dirt on Jesus’ mamma. For me, this is the worst, the most demonic passage, in the Gospel.

Like Joseph

The Pope said:

And Joseph’s risk gives us this lesson: to take life as it comes. Has God intervened there? I accept it. And Joseph does what the angel of the Lord had ordered […]

Christian engaged couples are called to witness to a love like this that has the courage to move from the logic of falling in love to that of mature love. This is a demanding choice that instead of imprisoning life, can fortify love so that it endures when faced with the trials of time.

The Pope said that mature love begins with “love lived every day, from work, from the children that come… And sometimes that romanticism disappears a bit, right?”

He then reiterated the advice he’s given on other occasions to married couples: To accept that there will be arguments, and sometimes testy ones, but to finish the day with at least a caress of peace.

Listen to me well: never finish the day end without making peace. “We fought. My God, I said bad words. I said awful things. But now, to finish the day, I must make peace”. You know why? Because the cold war the next day is very dangerous. Don’t let war begin the next day. For this reason, make peace before going to bed. “But, Father, you know, I don’t know how to express myself to make peace after such an awful situation that we experienced”.

It’s very easy. Do this (the Pope caresses his cheek) and peace is already made. Remember this always. Remember always: never finish the day without making peace. And this will help you in your married life. … This movement from falling in love to mature love is a demanding choice, but we must choose that path.

Tags:
MarriagePope FrancisSaint Joseph
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