Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, 13 June 2021
Dear Fellow Saints-in-the-Making,
Joyful greetings in Christ our Lord.
In St. Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians this weekend, he affirms that “we are always courageous.” His writing is in reference to the challenges this life can pose to our life of faith and how the ways of this world can confuse us and lead us away from the Ways of the World-to-come. He mentions that this is seen individually and corporately by what we do in the body. We see how very poorly the human body is treated by so many in the world today—genocide, abortion, human trafficking, self-mutilation, and pornography are only a few of the countless instances of how someone so wrongfully treats the body of another. And then there is how we treat our own bodies, many of us lacking in self-discipline by not promoting proper nutrition, sleep, exercise, and personal chastity.
Nevertheless, despite all of this, St. Paul still makes bold enough to say, “we are always courageous.” Courage comes from the Latin word cor and later the French word coeur, both meaning heart. If you and I have the Heart of Jesus, we will recognize our body and the bodies of everyone else, regardless of who they are or what they look like, as made in the image of God and thus, most especially for the baptized, a temple of the Holy Spirit.
God gives us Saints to look up to that we might learn how to be “always courageous” and so please God by how we treat the human body, our own and that of others. One Saint is a great model, in particular during this Year dedicated to him: St. Joseph. I recently wrote a lengthy meditation on St. Joseph for this Year and will publish a condensed version of it as a series in the weeks to come. I hope it will draw you more closely to the Patron Saint of the Universal Church and that St. Joseph will inspire you to be always courageous.
St. Joseph: Silent Saint
The mid-to-late-sixteenth-century Carmelite mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. John of the Cross, has written that “Silence is God’s first language.” If that be true, that might give us an insight into St. Joseph, to whom not a single word is attributed to him in the Gospels. While he is spoken to by angelic ambassadors from Heaven, he makes no verbal response but consistently answers immediately with unhesitating obedience to the Will of God. One might reasonably conclude, then, that God’s first language, silence, is a language St. Joseph speaks fluently.
Why, though, is this saintly man silent in Sacred Scripture?
To be able to hear God provide the answer by a tiny whispering sound (1 Kings 19:12f), one must necessarily rely on those in the history of the Church who have, through the inspiration by the Holy Spirit, given voice to St. Joseph by their insightful and theologically rich exegesis of the man the Holy Roman Catholic Church calls “The Virginal Father of Jesus” and “The Most Chaste Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary” as well as by their devotion to and personal gratitude for favors received by the Saint whom the Church Militant has elevated to the august title of “Patron of the Universal Church.”
These voices include the sacred eloquence of the Patristics; the wise counsel of the Doctors of the Church; the panegyrics of the holy women and men whom the Church has canonized; the ardent witness of faithful persons devoted to the “Guardian of the Redeemer;” the magisterial teachings of the Successors of Peter, the Popes; the enduring second Font of Revelation known as the Church’s Tradition; and the contemplative inspirations of the Saints-in-the-Making of today.
But before discerning these voices in the history known as anno Domini, one must begin where St. Joseph is introduced to us, namely, in the first Font of Divine Revelation, Sacred Scripture, specifically the Gospels. (to be continued…)
God love you!