Thoughts on the Patient Endurance of Sorrows and Sufferings
THE PATIENCE OF ST. JOSEPH
We do not read that before the birth of Jesus Joseph was exercised by great tribulations; he doubtless led the kind of humble and modest life which finds its happiness in what suffices. But after the birth of the divine Child, the life of Joseph was nothing but one long martyrdom, until then he had not been without a home; afterward, his retreat was a stable. Until then, he had lived tranquilly, surmounting his poverty by labor; afterward, he was persecuted, and constrained to lead a life of exile in a strange land.
Until then, desiring little, he had known but little anguish; afterward, his compassionate soul was torn when he heard the old man Simeon say to Mary: "Thy soul a sword shall pierce" (Luke ii. 35); until then, possessing little, he had little to lose; afterward, he had Jesus, and he lost Him at Jerusalem. What an affliction! Ah, rather have lost all, for without Jesus, what is the whole earth? He does indeed find him at last, but death comes to separate him from Jesus a second time, and he quits Him, not to see Him again until, on the day of His resurrection, He visits limbo.
It is thus that the patience of St. Joseph was tried by a series of tribulations, and in the midst of it all, Joseph was calm and resigned. He understood that tribulations are the crucible in which God purifies the virtue of those whom He loves, that the way of the cross is the only one which leads to heaven, that all the just must pass along it, and that Jesus never visits a soul without taking His cross with Him. Are these our dispositions? Do we not imitate, on the contrary, the man of the world who lives only for pleasure, who will always have his comforts and be at his ease, who will deprive himself of nothing, mortify himself in nothing, and who is irritated by suffering and contradiction?
Let us adore the great design of God, who exposes His dearest friends to trials. (Job. xii, 13.). We find a difficulty in understanding, here below, this arrangement of Providence (Acts xiv. 2), but let us have patience, and we shall understand it hereafter. (John xiii. 7.). Meanwhile, let us adore without understanding, and let us lovingly bless God, who does all things well. (Mark vii. 37).
Compiled and Edited by Rev. F. X. Lasance
Author of "My Prayerbook," etc.
1937, Benziger Brothers
Printers to the Holy Apostolic See