SAINT JOSEPH MEN | Miguel Lasso de la Vega, Spain •
The Joseph Challenge 2021 from Schoenstatt.org, only for men: Men from different vocations in the Covenant of Love, from different countries and generations, allow themselves to be challenged by the letter of Pope Francisco Patris Corde about Joseph, “this extraordinary figure, so close to our human condition,” and they share what most impacts and motivates them in the figure of St. Joseph and the Holy Father’s letter about him. The first to take up the challenge is Miguel Lasso de la Vega from Spain. —
The profound letter in which the Holy Father Francis writes his personal reflections on the figure of St. Joseph, I personally feel it as an interpellation to put my life in comparison with his virtues. Where am I in relation to that discreet day-to-day hero who quietly worked, served, gave himself and loved, fulfilling God’s will?
“Daily presence, discreet and hidden,” says the Pope, and yet with an unparalleled protagonism in the history of our salvation. Because Joseph is a hinge, a key piece that unites “the Old and the New Testament”, the son of David, the husband of Mary, the father of Jesus. But in our world, is it right to seemingly be nothing in order to be something only for others?
Who was St. Joseph? What was his family background, his training? What civilian positions did he hold in his community? Were his carpentry jobs known throughout Galilee? Was he the best carpenter in Nazareth? Or, at least, was he the only one? It is against these and similar parameters that we now measure ourselves. Without objectives we cannot supposedly grow as people; objectives that we set for ourselves, or others set for us; objectives that we must fulfill because our self-satisfaction depends on them.
In my curriculum I include what I have learned and where, what I have done, what I have said, what I intend to be, sometimes briefly my future projects and in this way I hope that others can know what I am capable of. But in my curriculum I do not write the most important thing, if I belong to all those around me before myself. I’m afraid, in my particular case, that its content would be greatly simplified.
That’s why I’ve always been attracted by the lives of God’s saints, who follow his will by acting and performing great, extraordinary works, enormous foundations, wonderful miracles, sacrifices even to death. But this letter makes us meditate on a life that was not like that and, instead, was understood as a father by many of those saints. Joseph’s life was a life of few very great things, and when I contemplate it I see myself as I am. What moves me? How much is there of vanity?
Who has been able to embrace with immense affection the Virgin Mary and hold with tenderness the Godchild, who has looked at him and smiled at him, I am sure he must not desire, nor need anything else.
I learn so much from Joseph!
The fears and doubts that we, as parents, have, and I am sure Joseph had, about the future that we can give to our children, in his situation, were increased because he could not prepare a worthy place for the one who was about to be born, the one who would manifest the divine glory in the fragile body of a Child. Joseph saw God in the creature growing in Mary’s womb, in the gaze of the newborn Jesus, and he asks me to see in the gaze of my children the gaze of the Father as well, because in the tenderness that inspires us is the tenderness of Him towards us.
I learn so much from Joseph! He believed, he trusted, he knew how to read and accept God’s will and to reaffirm his faith. He was courageous and did not back down. How would I have acted in Joseph’s shoes? Do I trust my wife when domestic problems arise? Do I respect her timing? Do I take the initiative in key decisions or do I prefer to stay on the sidelines?
The world needs fathers
“The Church today needs fathers… the world needs fathers” the Pope reminds us the importance of the principle of paternity and precisely in Schoenstatt we know its importance; but knowing is not the same as applying it to your daily life, or becoming aware that with my children or with those who have been entrusted to me I am only a humble communicator of the paternity of God, an instrument to lead others to Him.
In this hour of tribulation, the life of St. Joseph, twenty centuries later, continues to present itself to us as mysteriously valid, an example to follow, a model to guide me. Therefore, in my prayers I ask for your protection, you, the guardian of the Redeemer, for my family, for Schoenstatt, for the Church.
Original: Spanish 2021-01-05. Translated by Maria Aragón, Monterrey, México