Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.
But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Poor Saint Joseph. Talk about things not going your way! “My cherished young bride-to-be is with child! This has nothing to do with me and she’s so good…This doesn’t make any sense!” You can feel his anxiety, completely lost. Then an angel in a dream: “Do not be afraid.” Once Joseph saw the role he was to play in God’s plan, he ‘awoke’ and acted decisively. St. Ignatius’s teaching on desolation and consolation once again sheds light. Desolation: when the soul is filled with fear or negativity, is self-focused, restless, spiraling downward. Consolation: when the soul is filled with love, peace, gratitude, life-giving energy, quiet courage.
Angels are God’s messengers. Who are the angels in your life? Where do you often find God’s message, moving you from desolation to consolation? Hey Jude, the movement you need is on your shoulders – pay attention! Advent: Come Lord Jesus!
—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!