Silence is a strange thing – it can be comforting and reassuring, and by the same token disturbing. It can give opportunity to provoke thought and inspiration, yet also its very presence can cause the mind to play tricks and allow unhealthy concentration on trivia and for us to dwell on negative things. Many will have experienced periods of extended, enforced silence this past year.
Pope Benedict wrote this in 2005
“Joseph’s is a silence permeated by contemplation of the mystery of God, in an attitude of total availability to his divine wishes. Let us allow ourselves to be “infected” by the silence of St Joseph! We have much need of it in a world which is often too noisy, which does not encourage reflection and listening to the voice of God.”
Which leads to wondering what the silence of St Joseph is. We know that he was the earthly father of Jesus and that he was a carpenter – but we know little more than that. The Church has venerated him, and there is that delightful phrase “her spouse most chaste” in traditional forms of Benediction which suggests a slightly dysfunctional family life.
But, we come back to being “infected by the silence”. A silence which is open to God, a deliberate use of silence to allow God to work in our lives – be it daily for 15 minutes or so or a longer silence in retreat. Joseph is silent in the Gospels, we revere him because of what he does NOT SAY – but rather in his silent support for Mary and the child Jesus, for his fortitude in providing for his family, by listening and responding to the voice of God revealed to him.
Pray: for St Jospeh’s prayerful support for us as we try to listen and respond to God’s message for us, and let us try to set silent times apart for God. Today plan a little extra time of silence and stillness reflecting on Joseph’s silence.
Thank you to Fr Chris for this refection in our St Joseph Novena.
After a period of silence you may like to pray about any person or concern currently on your heart. And say our Novena Prayer.
Hail, Guardian of the Redeemer,
Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To you God entrusted his only Son;
in you Mary placed her trust;
with you Christ became man.
Blessed Joseph, to us too,
show yourself a father
and guide us in the path of life.
Obtain for us grace, mercy and courage,
and defend us from every evil.
St Joseph, pray for us