We need to stop once in a while and ask ourselves who do we want to be? It is so easy to get caught up in being busy, taking care of children, work, taking care of the home, school assignments, as well as the myriad of activities that each of us, experiencing our unique vocation in life, can add to the list. These can all be good things, but we can lose ourselves in the midst of being so busy that we are slipping into a state of survival mode or merely existing. We can fall into the trap of being defined by what we do instead of who we are and who God is calling us to be.
God has a plan for us with the end result being eternal communion with his Father in heaven. Our end goal is living a life of holiness, becoming saints. We need to remind ourselves of this from time to time, by assessing where we are now, and placing ourselves in a posture of listening to the guidance of where God is leading us.
Our Gospel account from Matthew today gives us an opportunity to see this holiness in action. Joseph, has become aware that Mary is with child and he is not the Father. Joseph, “a righteous man” follows the law, but is “unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.” Joseph’s righteousness lead him to follow the law, yet he was unwilling to make of her a public spectacle and so pondered the idea of divorcing her quietly. Before he made his final decision, Joseph slept on the matter.
This is often a good course of action when weighing such a heavy issue. How many times do we rush into decisions only to regret them later? Joseph hears clearly God’s direction through the angel of the Lord in a dream. When Joseph rises in the morning, he does not dig in his heels feeling he knows best and return to his original decision, he does not let fear or anxiety from the possible scenarios he could play out in his mind regarding what others may say or think sway him, nor do the possible and real difficulties he can envision deter him. Joseph trusts God. With confidence and assurance of who he is and that God is with him, Joseph acts on the guidance he has received.
Joseph is a model for us in our path of discernment. When faced with issues before us, we need to remember who we are, whose we are, and who we are called to be. We are children of God, and that means we belong to God, a God who loves and cares for us. He has a plan for each of our lives. Every decision and action is a step in fulfilling that plan. When we are discerning, no matter how large or small the decision, we are invited to gather information, look at the reasonable options available to us, and then seek God’s guidance. In this way, we are participants with God in our journey of growing in faithfulness and holiness. Joseph followed these steps and God granted him not only the guidance he sought, but the support to fulfill the commission he received. We can be assured God will do the same for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us!

Painting: The Dream of St Joseph by Anton Raphael Mengs about 1774
Link for the Mass readings for Monday, March 19, 2018:
http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/031918.cfm

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