Happy Feast of St. Joseph, one of my patrons! In Mary’s vulnerability, he encircled her. His sheltering created a boundary where Mary’s availability to God and the life within her could flourish. Mary is theotokos, God-bearer; but it is Joseph who surrounded his beloved with strength and tenderness, bearing the one who bore the one larger than the universe itself.*
You held an infant son to your chest
and, with his mother, taught him –
as he toddled and explored
the human confines of home and hearth –
to speak and to pray.
You bore the one who bore God,
sheltering and encompassing her
from the beginning,
treasuring her as she treasured in her heart –
and you in yours –
what crazy wondrous things
your God (and ours)
was amazingly moving forward
through your growing son.
Provide your circling tending presence,
place your hand upon our shoulders,
as we make our vulnerable way along too,
seeking to be available to God
and give Christ birth today,
at Spirit’s prompting.
Put in a word for us
to the boy and man you shaped,
and teach us your love for him
and your willingness to have him be all he is,
whether or not you or we understand.
We greet you and thank you on our way!
And we thank God for you!
St. Joseph, pray for us.
*This description of Mary owed to another friend, Clare of Assisi, in one of her letters to Agnes of Prague.