"No one is merciful without being in union with the Father. He is the infinite mercy." -- Pope Francis
For Pope Francis in Misericordiae Vultus, the word “Mercy” reveals the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Mercy is the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us; it is the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of each person; and it is the path that unites God and humanity, because it opens our hearts to the hope of being loved forever.
In the month of March, the Congregation of the Holy Cross celebrates its patron Saint Joseph. Following on the heels of the Year of Mercy, I will share a brief reflection showing Saint Joseph, merciful like the Father.
In the Sacred Scriptures, little is said about Joseph. He is presented as the son of David, a carpenter, the adoptive father of Jesus and husband of Mary. He appears as a deeply human figure, as well as committed man, who therefore knows how to handle the consequences of his decisions.
In Matthew 1:19-20, we read, "Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lordappeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her.’”
In this little account of the Gospel of Matthew, we find such a great act of mercy as Joseph takes as his wife a pregnant woman whose child he knew was not his own. He received the great mission of educating, no one less than the Son of God. Joseph knew how to assume with dignity the mystery of the Divine Project, being the protagonist of the path of union between God and humanity. He is therefore a man of faith, a man who listens to God.
Joseph's faith becomes productive, full of fruit. He loved and cared for the Holy Family, and now he loves and cares for the Church, the sick, the dying, the fathers, families, and finally, each of us in the Holy Cross family, as we trust in him as our patron.
May his example, his faith inspire in us a closeness to God, so that through our ready obedience we may be fruitful in works of love and care for those who need us most. We pray, therefore, for the intercession of St. Joseph so that together, in one family, we can build a society where justice and solidarity reign.
Let us be like St. Joseph, merciful like the Father.
This reflection for the Solemnity of St. Joseph, who is the patron of the Holy Cross brothers, was written by Br. Ronaldo Almeida, C.S.C. Br. Ronaldo is a member of the District of Brazil, where he serves in vocations and formation ministry.