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La Sagrada Familia (The Holy Family)
“The spiritual life is a long strange business and you’ve got to be quiet and docile enough to go on learning.” Iris Murdoch
The month of May is always associated with the Mother of God. In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St Joseph the Patron of the Universal Church and in 1955 Pope Pius XII established the Feast of St Joseph the Worker on May 1 as a counter-celebration to the communists’ May Day. Which means Mary’s husband ushers in her month. And since I recently showed the image I painted of St Joseph the Worker, here on Facebook, I decided to show the first icon I painted of Joseph and The Holy Family, in 1991, which is a companion to The Risen Christ, both icons reside at Risen Christ Church in Denver, Colorado. During this year dedicated to Joseph, I continue to learn from him what I call “Joseph’s way” which is a radical trust in God, made so clear and simple in the beautiful Don Dolindo Novena I’ve spoken of so often. But I have to keep at it because I have a tendency to fall back into worry more often than not ! In the mystical Life of St Joseph by Maria Cecilia Baij , OSB, she tells us that during his life, God allowed Joseph to be continually afflicted by worries concerning the care of his wife and child, but also he knew what an extraordinary privilege he was given, to see and care for them every day. Recently our administrative assistant at St Joseph on the Rio Grande Church, Mrs Dawn Wenzl surprised me with a gift of an icon she wrote/painted of St Joseph with the Holy Child . It is very tender and touching. I felt like Joseph was reminding me that he is with me and continuing to guide me in his year. This also reaffirmed for me the power of icons to bring the presence of a heavenly being into your house and life. Images, paintings and icons have been my work for the past 30 years and I always remember what a gift it is to share them with others. I think of a Dominican motto, “Contemplata aliis tradere” - to share what you have contemplated.
Here is a lovely prayer I found in a book of prayers for Fathers :
“Lord Jesus, through the life You chose to lead on earth You showed forth the resplendent value of human work - though often done in toil, all Your work was a prayer, a sacrifice pleasing to God. Grant me too, my Savior, the grace to realize the magnificent potential of work to transform me, making me more patient, diligent, generous and fruitful. And most especially, my Lord, bestow on me the grace to bring to the work of each moment an air of peacefulness and prayerfulness. Through the intercession of St Joseph, patron of workers, I ask all this through Your holy name. Amen”
A most happy feast of St Joseph‼️
Fr Bill McNichols 💮 May 2021