As I thought about today's Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, it hit me that both discerning and being open to God's will for our lives can be a serious challenge.
As human beings, we are used to the idea that we get to decide our future: our occupation, our home, our spouse. We typically get to decide what we want, when we want it, and exactly how. Fortunately for us, that's usually when the ruler of the universe steps in to make things interesting.
Any feast of St. Joseph (there are several!) is the perfect day to contemplate God's amazing and sometimes unpredictable way of working in our lives, for St. Joseph is just one saintly example among many of a life "interrupted" by God.
Think about it from St. Joseph's point-of-view for just a moment:
You're young. You're engaged to a beautiful young girl. You've got your own business, your own house-- heck, you've even got a donkey! Life is looking good. And then, God steps in. He takes all of your plans about wedding, marriage, family, work, home, and He replaces that with one of the greatest challenges He could ask of anyone: foster-fathering His own Son, the savior of the world.
Talk about a change of plans! And yet, Joseph accepts God's work in his life without complaint. Through prayer, he discerns God's will, and he remains open to the messages that God sends in dreams. Ultimately, God's plans for Joseph's life work out far better than Joseph's own plans ever could have.
St. Joseph's life and example are reminders to us of the virtues of faith and trust in God, with whom "all things work for good." (Rom. 8:28) Let's make sure our kids know St. Joseph's story, and that they know about the blessings that flow from trusting in God!
For more on St. Joseph . . .
Watch Fr. James Martin talk about "The Hidden Life of St. Joseph:"
And for a little humor, Mark Hart (The Bible Geek), describes what it must
have been like to be St. Joseph: