The proclamation of Pope Francis for the Year of St. Joseph from December 8, 2020 to December 8, 2021 led me to pause for a while and asked “who is St. Joseph for me as an FMM?
I am simply aware that St. Joseph played a great role in the spirituality of Mother Foundress Mary of the Passion. But basically for me: who is he?
The statue of St. Joseph at the left side of the altar in the chapel of Our Lady of Victories caught my attention that seemingly inviting me to contemplate him more by gazing on him reflectively and meditatively allowing my feelings and thoughts speak with depth in the stillness of my being.
At his right hand is a carpenter’s measuring wood pressed in his heart, which appears to tell me “how he loves and esteems an honest and simple work to earn and to feed his family of Mary and Jesus”. Indeed, he truly gives dignity and a spiritual dimension to manual labours. With this right hand pressed on his heart signifies that he always communicates with his heart. Isn’t it this is generative speaking? A question has been evoked in me: Have I truly interiorized generative listening and speaking especially in this time of quarantine or isolation period due to COVID-19? How did “sensing” the poor and the most vulnerable people in our society suffering tremendously from the impact of pandemic COVID-19 influenced my prayer life and my concrete solidarity with them?
At his left hand is a “bunch of lilies” that symbolizes for me his purity of mind, body and spirit. The bouquet has three lilies with two of them blooming fully and the other one preparing itself to bloom. I have been questioning him of what message do these three flowers suggests for me. The orientation of the Institute on U-process as a change process suddenly springs up. He wants to tell me that the two lilies in bloom are my open mind and heart whereas the un-bloomed one is my “will” that need to grow in openness to enter the process of my personal change: “to let go of those that blocked me to be a true credible person and to let come in” those good attitudes and virtues that will make me a trustworthy individual and a better FMM”.
His halo represented his holiness that he attained as he sincerely cooperated and with purity of intention collaborated to the graces that God had been providing him as he responded to the pleasant and unpleasant realities in the daily events and situations he encountered and experienced in his earthly life.
The gestures of his feet are in the walking position that signifies not passivity and submissiveness but active, spirited and lively deeds to respond to whatever or wherever God is calling him. His lips with a ready smile show attentiveness and availability to welcome and generously help whoever comes to him. His downcast eyes manifest his modesty and humility. These body languages speak a lot to me in the measure of “contemplative and active” attitudes that must be lived by FMM’s in handling and doing the ordinary and extra-ordinary things that comes regularly on the basis of everyday existence.
In conclusion is the following short verse written to thank God for the gift of St. Joseph to humanity:
S – anctity is the path you were courageously treading
T – otal self-giveness lies in the depth of your being
J – oyful obedience and poverty have been your life’s witnessing
O – mnipotent God to your simple heart you’re abandoning
S – ilence is your way of sincere and attentive listening
E – mpathy in truth and charity are your manners of relating
P – eace, justice and love the attitudes at home you’re exemplifying
H – aving Mary and Jesus fill you with songs of praise and thanksgiving!
By: Sr. Yolanda, FMM