Diocese of Toledo, Ohio

Browsing From the Pastor

March 16/17 Bulletin Article

From the Pastor:

This Tuesday is the Solemnity of St. Joseph! He is one of the most universally popular saints in the history of the Church. He has been offering prayers before the throne of God, generation after generation, for all those who have asked for his intercession. Just as his selfless actions had a part in bringing forth the Church, so now he continues to assist the Church through prayerful intercession, so that the Church may grow in number, increase in holiness, and stand strong in the daily struggles against evil.

Pope Francis is very fond of St. Joseph, and wants us to learn from him. A few years ago, Pope Francis released a short apostolic letter about St. Joseph, titled “With a Father’s Heart,” In the first sentence of his letter, Pope Francis says he chose that title because that is how Joseph loved Jesus. After examining some aspects of Joseph’s fatherhood, Pope Francis then concludes with his deepest reason for his letter – “our conversion” – which he says is “the grace of graces”. If in our prayers we ask St. Joseph to pray and intercede for us, Pope Francis says he will do so from his place in heaven.

The letter is short but rich with spiritual insight. For instance, he says “the history of salvation is worked out…through our weaknesses. All too often we think that God works only through our better parts, yet most of His plans are realized in and despite our frailty.” Pope Francis gives us hope through the same words that God reassured St. Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor 12:7-9) In both of these saints, faith and faithfulness to God was an unwavering rule of life.

We know very well there is weakness and frailty in life. Joseph experienced this many times, yet he pressed forward in faith and faithfulness to God. Joseph repeatedly shows himself to be a father whose love is courageous, merciful, obedient, and hard working. Pope Francis speaks about each of these, giving examples and linking them to fatherhood. Each of these are perfectly found in our Heavenly Father, and Pope Francis wants us to strive for the same in ourselves, especially amoung earthly fathers. Pope Francis especially desires men to rediscover fatherhood and live all aspects of it as Joseph did.

Pope Francis’ letter also reflects on Joseph’s willingness to sacrifice himself and to accept whatever life presented him. Pope Francis says: “Often in life, things happen whose meaning we do not understand. Our first reaction is frequently one of disappointment and rebellion. Joseph sets aside his own ideas in order to accept the course of events and, mysterious as they seemed, to embrace them, take responsibility for them, and make them part of his own history… The spiritual path that Joseph traces for us is not one that explains, but accepts. Only as a result of this acceptance, this reconciliation, can we begin to glimpse a broader history, a deeper meaning.”

To read Pope Francis’ full letter, search for Patris Corde or “With a Father’s Heart”. It’s worth your time.

Pray for us, St. Joseph!
Fr. Miller


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