Holy Family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph
On this Holy Family Sunday, the Gospel reading is obviously about the Holy Family. In particular, this year, we hear the passage about the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple.
There are five figures in this scene: Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Simeon and Anna. In my reflection today, I will focus on Joseph.
Joseph is sometimes forgotten. But he’s not forgotten here at Conception. If you come to visit us and spend some time in our historic basilica, you can begin to admire the murals painted high on the walls of the basilica. After Jesus and Mary, the next figure most depicted is Joseph.
Indeed, St. Joseph is central in the devotional life of Conception monks. But not only us. Just a couple weeks ago, Pope Francis published a beautiful document about St. Joseph. He did this on the 150th anniversary of the decision of Pope Pius IX to declare St. Joseph the patron of the Universal Church. I encourage you to read this. You can find it by searching “Pope Francis and St. Joseph” online.
I would like to share with you something about the place of St. Joseph in the faith of our Hanus family. My Dad, Leo Hanus, had a great devotion to St. Joseph. In his small prayer book, which he used every day, one could find several special prayers to St. Joseph. This is one of Dad’s favorites:
Saint Joseph, look, I’m tired tonight,
But somehow I think that you care;
For being a father and one who works
Are things that both of us share.
It tires a man, yet the heart is light,
For, Patron Saint, it’s all worthwhile.
Its rich reward is a loving wife,
And joyous light in a child’s smile.
O Father, Worker, bear with me.
Help me, Joseph, to do my best,
To love, protect my family
Till work shall cease and Heaven is rest.
Dad had a great devotion to St. Joseph. It sustained him through difficult times and through his own physical ailments.
But St. Joseph also brought him joy. He appreciated that a grandson and a great-grandson were named Joseph. But he was especially filled with joy when his oldest child, his first daughter, made her profession as a Notre Dame Sister. She received a new name and a new patron. How could it be anyone other than St. Joseph?
On this Feast of the Holy Family, may all of us, especially fathers and husbands, rely on St. Joseph to inspire and protect us.
Reflection by Archbishop Jerome Hanus, OSB