St. Joseph Novena - Day 4
I wanted to do something a little different this year in preparation for St. Joseph’s feast day on March 19th.
At the beginning of the Year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis wrote an Apostolic Letter about Joseph titled, Patris Corde (“With a Father’s Heart”).
A couple of years ago I formatted the letter into a novena. This year, for the nine days leading up to Joseph’s feast day, I’m going to publish a short podcast that will include one section of the pope’s letter about St. Joseph, Patris Corde, a short personal reflection, and a closing prayer.
Today is day four.
The passage from Patris Corde that stood out for me today was:
“In every situation, Joseph declared his own “fiat”, like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.”
Every time Joseph said yes to God, every time he chose to love his wife and son, he was practicing obedience.
Obedience is one of the evangelical counsels. These are the vows that consecrated religious men and women take: poverty, chastity, and obedience. But they aren’t just for nuns and monks. In Amoris Laetitia, the pope teaches:
“A married person can experience the highest degree of charity and thus “reach the perfection which flows from charity, through fidelity to the spirit of [the evangelical] counsels. Such perfection is possible and accessible to every man and woman” (AL 160).
Monks were required to drop whatever work they were doing whenever they heard the bell that called them to prayer. This kind of discipline is also required of parents whenever their child needs them.
Instead of a toddler waking him up in the middle of the night, the monk sets his alarm to pray at 3:00am. Instead of an infant demanding that his mom stop whatever she's doing at the drop of a hat in order to feed him, the nun has bells that go off every few hours that demand she drops what she’s doing to go and pray.
Francis also teaches in Amoris Latitia:
“Those who have deep spiritual aspirations should not feel that the family detracts from their growth in the life of the Spirit, but rather see it as a path which the Lord is using to lead them to the heights of mystical union” (AL 316)
Changing diapers at 4:00am, being kind to your spouse when they are tired and cranky, not yelling at your kid when they’ve asked to play video games for the tenth time in the past five minutes—these decisions to love can lead “to the heights of mystical union."
You can follow this novena by subscribing to the Pope Francis Generation podcast on your favorite podcast app or by following the SmartCatholics youtube page.