May 1 is the Optional Memorial of St. Joseph the Worker. Take some time to read these reflections about St. Joseph from Pope Francis.
I ask for you the grace to be ever closer to your children, allow them to grow, but be close, close! They need you, your presence, your closeness, your love. May you be for them as St. Joseph was: guardians of their growth in age, wisdom, and grace. May you guard them on their journey: be educators and walk with them. And by this closeness you will be true educators.
Joseph’s mission is certainly unique and unrepeatable, because Jesus is absolutely unique. And yet, in his guardianship of Jesus, forming him to grow in age, wisdom, and grace, he is a model for every educator, especially every father. St. Joseph is the model of the educator and the dad, the father. I, therefore, entrust to his protection, all parents, priests — who are fathers — and those who have an educational role in the Church and in society.
Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions. In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ!
I have great love for St. Joseph, because he is a man of silence and strength. On my table I have an image of St. Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! Yes! We know that he can do that. So when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath St. Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words I tell him: pray for this problem!
Today I would like to ask that St. Joseph grant all of us the ability to dream because when we dream great things, good things, we draw near to God’s dream, what God dreams about us. That he might give to those who are young people — because he was young — the ability to dream, to take risks, and to take on the difficult tasks seen in their dreams. And that he might give to all the fidelity that generally matures in upright behavior, since he was just, which grows in silence — in few words — and grows in that tenderness which is capable of safeguarding one’s own weaknesses and those of others.
In the Gospels, St. Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love. We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!