44 Days of St. Joseph – March 28 – Servant of Christ

The paradox is worth taking some time thinking about. God Incarnate humbles himself and lives a human life. He apprentices himself to a tradesman from Nazareth, and forges the path of mankind’s salvation.

And, at the same time, the man he apprentices himself to, in playing this role faithfully, serves the purposes of God in a most direct way.

In short, God serves man that man might serve God. Or in other words, it is God who makes our service to him possible.

This truth offers a corrective to the mindset that would suggest it is we who are the prime movers of our service to Christ, that we are the originators, that we are the ones whose shoulders primarily bear the weight of the cross. (Consider: did the Cyrene help carry Christ’s cross, or did Christ help carry the Cyrene’s?) We serve with, bear with the one who serves us. And in his service, we are able to serve.

The Canticle of Anna from the First Book of Kings has it this way: Pedes sanctórum suórum servábit, et ímpii in ténebris conticéscent: quia non in fortitúdine sua roborátur vir.

“He will guard the feet of His faithful ones, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness, for no man shall prevail by his own strength.”

Christ came into St. Joseph’s workshop, and infused his work—which likely looked very everyday, very ordinary—with the power to serve God. Maybe St. Joseph realized this, or maybe he didn’t. Regardless, that’s what happened.

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