I started writing this yesterday on the Solemnity of St. Joseph, but didn't have time to finish.
I've been thinking a lot lately, and praying but not enough, about the fact that I would like feel more relaxed in my relationship with God the Father. I'm not saying less reverent, I'm just saying that I'm here doing all the things, not out of love but out of a sense of responsibility, and also a bit out of fear. I'm never quite comfortable in the presence of the Father because I'm always waiting to hear what I'm doing wrong, and what I need to change before I can be acceptable. I know this is wrong. I believe this is wrong. I know and believe that God the Father loves me and wants to be close to me, but my own experience is that fathers love you and provide for you, but that you don't have comfortable chats with them, and they are very critical. My father wasn't a bad father. He just seemed to think that parents and children lived in separate worlds. That's probably what he saw when he was growing up. So, I'm not griping; I'm just explaining.
I was thinking about all this during Mass on this Solemnity of St. Joseph, and realized that here is an example of an excellent father, and intercessor, and then I remember the statue pictured above. The statue is in a niche in the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe in Orlando, FL. You approach it from the aisle on the left side of the church. It's a big church and the niche is actually further back than the altar, next to the chapel of reservation, which is behind the altar, so it's a long walk.
The first time I walked down that aisle and saw that statue, I began to tear up. The closer I got, the weepier I got. By the time I reached the little alcove, I was having trouble keeping from sobbing. I didn't know why for sure. I remember the statue as being life-size and it's very touching. I felt as if I was right there in room with Joseph and the young Jesus. The relationship between the two was palpable. I have seen a father and son talking in just this way, and it way lovely. This is the way I would like to talk with God the Father.
I have never had much of a devotion to St. Joseph. Well, to be truthful, I don't think I've ever had any devotion at all. He's just the third character in the Nativity scenes. I have always admired the way he answered God's call to take on his difficult role as husband and foster father, but that's about the extent of the attention I've ever given him.
Now, I am going to start looking for some prayer to him. Several friends of mine pray a novena to St. Joseph that they dearly love, and which to me is so overly-sentimental that I just can't get the words out of my mouth. Prayers to St. Joseph tend to be that way, but hopefully I will find something, and if I don't, maybe I can write something. Here's the collect for the solemnity.
Grant, we pray, almighty God, that by Saint Joseph's intercession your Church may constantly watch over the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation, whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pray for us.