Thursday, March 19, 2009
"Joseph awoke from his sleep and did what the angel of the Lord told him to do." Matthew 1:14
Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I had a dream. I heard a familiar voice say that I had the job I wanted. It was a job on the beach. I was going to get paid to spend the whole day at the beach. I woke up with so much joy that I could not contain myself and told everybody I met that it was the happiest day of my life. I told them the reason why. As I was finishing up my student employment that day, I realized, finally, that it had all been a dream. I was shocked, frightened that I was a fool at least or losing my mind at the worst. I was ashamed of my pride and foolishness. I walked around the next few days in a funk, thinking myself the worst kind of fool, the kind of fool who believes in dreams, the kind of fool who would ever expect good things to happen and for God to be with me. I knew then that life just didn't work that way and I was never going to be such a foolish child again. Several days later in the mail, I received word that I did indeed have the job. Then I had to wonder whether the act of faith or the lack of faith made me more of a fool.
This is the feast day of St. Joseph. He took his cues from dreams, he made his decisions based on the visitation of angels, worked with his hands and was never a fool. His life, as the earthly father of a heavenly child was complex and challenging. There was much in his life that no one but Mary, his wife, would understand or believe. He had to make decisions that few had to make. And yet, he honored the insight God gave him and loved his family fiercely, despite the challenges to faith and existence.
Today, I want to live like Joseph, rejoicing in the insights and opportunities God has given me. Some of them might be unbelievable and many might not understand why I do what do. But God knows, and provides the way forward, even in the midst of great challenges and conundrums that few have faced. God's love promises to surround and enliven even the most confused dreamer, even those who lose their faith on occasion. God's love promises to see us through the hardest of times bringing us home, despite all of the barriers and challenges. May we all rejoice today for the example of Joseph, who listened to God, loved his family fiercely, and in so doing, brought love forever and unbounded into the world.