Written by Ms. Nina Robledo - Assistant to the CARES Coordinator
Fr. Agustinus Giman facilitated the recollection at the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia last February 27, 2021. The following are excerpts from his presentation.
This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of St. Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, Pope Francis has proclaimed a 'Year of St. Joseph' from December 8, 2020, to December 8, 2021. For this reason, we reflect on the life of St. Joseph in today's recollection.
Walking with St. Joseph
As a father and companion who accompanies us on our spiritual journey, St. Joseph encourages and inspires us to live out chastity, obedience, poverty, and community life through his example and virtues.
Chastity is a virtue. To be chaste is to have self-mastery, to be in control of passion and sexuality. Chastity is not repressing or rejecting the beauty of human sexuality; rather, it is preserving the human heart and body for authentic self-giving. Celibacy, on the other hand, is a particular form of chastity. Celibacy is a special calling for the sake of the Kingdom of God. St. Joseph was both chaste and celibate.
Pope Francis emphasizes that our chastity should grow in pastoral paternity and maternity. "To consecrate your love to Jesus, it is a big love, and it takes us to the vow of chastity. The vow of celibacy doesn't stop at the moment you take it on; it carries on – maturing gradually into pastoral paternity, pastoral maternity. When a priest is not a father in his community and a sister is not a mother to those she works with, they become sad, which is the problem. The root of sadness in consecrated life is the lack of paternity and maternity."
St. Joseph is the Most Obedient
St. Joseph is a model of obedience. Obedience requires trust. St. Joseph and Mary trusted God and were willing to suffer for their obedience to God. In every situation, Joseph declared his own "fiat," like those of Mary at the Annunciation and Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Patris Corde). Nevertheless, obedience is something more easily said than done. Pope Francis noted that obedience is the grace of the Holy Spirit. "to become a witness to obedience is a grace of the Holy Spirit: he is the one who does this."
St. Joseph is the Lover of Poverty
St. Joseph is an excellent example of Jesus' word: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 5:3). This passage tells us that those detached from the things of this world are not far from the Kingdom of heaven and blessed in spirit and rich in the sight of God. When a person is detached from the things of this world, poverty is understood to be a virtue. For this reason, St. Joseph is called "Lover of Poverty." He relied on Divine Providence for all his needs.
St. Joseph is the Head of the Holy Family
The Holy Family is the picture of how we live our community life. Pope Francis reflects beautifully on the family. "The 'home' represents the most precious human treasures, that of encounter, that of relations among people, different in age, culture, and history, but who live together and together help one another to grow. For this reason, the 'home' is an important place in life, where life grows and can be fulfilled because it is a place in which every person learns to receive love and to give love." For the religious man and woman and the priest, the community is our home.
The recollection was concluded with the Act of Consecration to St. Joseph by St. Peter Julian Eymard.