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St Joseph Shadow of the Father

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St Joseph Shadow of the Father

St Joseph Shadow of the Father
“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven...”
Matthew 18:18
“With the Apostolic Letter ‘Patris corde’ (With a Father’s Heart), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of St Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a ‘Year of St Joseph’ from today, 8 December 2020, to 8 December 2021.”
Vatican News
“When we are introduced to the mystery of Joseph we also quickly understand a point. We realize that Mary has a most important role to play in the discovery of Joseph. She sets Jesus himself directly on the new road when she tells him: ‘Your father and I have been searching for you.’ (Luke 2:48). Indeed, one must make a journey in the very footsteps of Jesus: the effect of these words is that Jesus accepts to make a disconcerting descent. This descent strikes me very much personally and I would like others to share the remarkable impression it makes on me. I am deeply convinced that Mary is saying to each one of us these few words we have often read or heard without attention: ‘Your father and I have been searching for you ...’ What do they mean? Jesus himself does not appear to have accepted them straightaway! As a result of these words, his whole person will, as it were, keel over, from a high point of splendor to an apparently lowly, pitiable one where his Father is waiting for him, where his Father wants him to be for so many years. If Mary is speaking to me also in those same terms, as I cannot help but believe, what does she wish to tell me ?
What must I do?”
From the book “St Joseph Shadow of the Father “ by Fr Andre’ Doze 1992.
I could quote just about any page from Fr Doze’s book and you’d be led into a prayer. I haven’t read it since I painted/wrote, this icon in 1992. So today I went back to it and was bowled over again, by its depth and availability. I wish I could send one to everyone who is reading this, but it’s hard to get now. Maybe used copies are available, or hopefully the publishers will give it to us again in honor of this consecrated year.
Sometimes there are announcements that hit you hard immediately, but they are more often frightening like the first mention of GRID (AIDS) in the New York Times, in July of 1981; or the first mention of Covid 19, and the tragic catastrophe of 9/11. We feel something similar instantaneously. When I heard that starting today, this year will be dedicated to Joseph I was hit hard in a very hopeful and exhilarating way. I felt the same thing when St John Paul II wrote his Apostolic Letter, “Tertio Millennio Adveniente” 10 November 1994. He dedicated the last three years of the 20th century to the Holy Trinity; 97 to Jesus, 98 to the Holy Spirit and 99 to the Father. The year 2000 would be a Eucharistic Year to start the coming millennium.
Recently, I was told by my cousin Kathi that I might like the Netflix film “Messiah” which was supposed to be a series but was cut to only 10 episodes. If she hadn’t told me I’d have never seen it. Although Piero Pasolini’s Jesus, Enrique Irazoqui, will always be my favorite Jesus on film, the portrayal of Jesus returning today by Medhi Dehbi illuminated the Gospels for me more than any film about Jesus. If your not familiar with the Gospels you can miss just about everything. But if you are, it’s a brilliant, subtle retelling that had me watching 7 episodes one night and 3 the next. Although there may be troubling parts of the script for some, I found even the troubling parts set me wondering; what is faith ? I bring this up because it’s about the Divine coming literally to earth again and what happens ? What or who changes ? What is rejected ? What lasts forever...? What will then, happen when a year is dedicated to St Joseph ? What difference does it make ? All these questions are explored too, in the Messiah. Especially, again, what is faith ? And how does it affect people who have watched for centuries the horrors brought on by christians? Rabbi Heschel’s daughter Susannah Heschel, has written a tragically brilliant book about these effects, “The Aryan Jesus : Christian Theologians and the Bible in Nazi Germany.” There are always individuals who keep faith, are trusting in what they experienced, and then manage to awaken others from the nightmare of isolation. It’s similar in a way to now, with all the deaths throughout the world from Covid 19 people while dying, barely able to speak, can say how can I be dying from a hoax? To return to this icon, people often ask why Joseph and the Child are dressed in red and why the dove on the Child’s hand ? Is this a symbol of the earthly Trinity ? The answer is at that time, I was reading about the 13th of October Apparition at Fatima in 1917. I learned that before that day, Our Lady of Fatima had promised Joseph would come and bring peace. He did come and he and the Child were wearing red. Joseph always brings a sense of inner peace, even though, or because, his own life was a daily walk in faith. Pope Francis has summoned Joseph again for a year long stay with us. What will he bring this time, along with Mother and Child ? Adrienne von Speyr’s portrait of Joseph in her “Book of All Saints,” taught me something invaluable about Joseph’s prayer, that we can adapt to our own prayer. For Joseph, just to watch Mary and the Child was prayer. To watch her bathe, feed or simply hold Him. I then wrote this prayer for the icon:
St Joseph
In the night
you teach a
hidden way of
retreat in silence,
in obedience
to your dreams.
But by day,
you lead us
in a prayer,
which is simply
to watch
Mother with
Child
Amen
8 December 2020 💮 the Year with St Joseph