We begin the pilgrimage of Lent today in the Catholic Church and many Christian communities worldwide. On this journey, through fasting, almsgiving and prayer we return to God with our whole heart as it is so eloquently written by the Prophet Joel in the Old Testament (Joel 2:12-18). In the New Testament, Paul reminds us,
We are ambassadors for Christ.2 Corinthians 5:20
These lines captured my attention and made me think of the ultimate ambassador for Christ, St. Joseph. St. Joseph is not only the Foster Father of the Son of God, he is also Watchful Defender of Christ and Protector of Holy Church (Litany of St. Joseph).
St. Joseph gave himself completely to Jesus and in many ways helped prepare Him for the beginning of His public ministry, the beginning of Christ’s journey to Calvary. Lent punctuates sacrifice, interior reflection, and doing more with less for forty days. It is very much a pilgrims journey down an arid, dry path for forty days. We can envision a dusty path meandering through a hot arid desert surrounded by thorny bushes, plants, and scaly lizards. Very few resting places are carved out for us here. This path (Lent) intentionally leads us away from the trappings of earthly delights so we can focus on our souls and prepare ourselves to be fully present with Jesus on Holy Thursday and Good Friday.
This arid journey need not be all sack cloth and ashes. This is where we can go to St. Joseph. In quiet contemplation we can rest with him as he rest with the Child Jesus in those formative years. St. Joseph can bring us to Jesus and teach us how we may become true ambassadors for Christ so that when we pass through Holy Saturday into that Glorious Sunday we are ready to truly be ambassadors for Christ.
May the poverty of my sweet and suffering little Child be your riches; His sighs and tears, the consolation of your days; the love of His infant heart, all your earthly treasure; and the clean vision of His adorable and glorified humanity, your eternal joy and recompense. –Amen.-Blessing of St. Joseph prayer