Monday, March 19, 2012
As I imagine him...
We have no written record of his words. Proof he was one of those strong silent types, a man who talks more with his eyes and with his actions than mere words. When the angel said Mary's son was God's own and to marry her anyway, he did. When the angel said the child was in danger, he left that very night. He spoke like that. "I'll love you anyway." "I'll take care of you."
I imagine him, working away in his shop as Jesus brings home fallen fledglings, motherless kittens, and stray mutts. Watching quietly as the boy cares for them, explaining how to pet and care for the little wild things, then pouring water and scraps into their bowls after Jesus falls asleep at night. I imagine him taking care of all of us other strays that Jesus has brought in, caring for and praying over us, too.
I can imagine his struggles with ordinary and family-style sins: impatience, bouts of minor pettiness. I can imagine, too, being the only person in the house capable of such failings, and facing divine forgiveness in his foster son and perfected understanding from his pure and human wife. I'd be tempted to despairing thoughts of worthlessness in the face of more perfection than I was ever capable of. How must it have been to be a sinner among such a pair? I'll bet that's what made a saint of him.
Joseph and I have fostering in common and he helps me in this. I've often appealed to him to speak to Jesus about one of my foster children or even to ask Jesus for comfort when I struggled with giving a foster child back again. I ask him to especially and eternally to pray for those ones.
I ask him to pray for my husband during those dry spells of marriage, to look out for me as a spouse, to teach me how to be imperfect with grace: God's grace.
To me, he is the patron of ordinary guys, ordinary people. He is the first among us to reconcile himself and his life to the Word Made Flesh. He has a lot to say, in his quiet way. Do. Work. Love. Look, how extraordinary the ordinary.