By Joseph Wehbe
Do you find it difficult to come to Jesus on your own, especially when things aren’t going the way you want them to? Don’t be discouraged, you weren’t created to be alone or to do anything alone.
God, who is relationship in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, created human beings in his image and likeness. He said “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen 2:18) and created a helper, a friend, for him.
Yet those who were created to be like God fell into the trap of deception. Life may not always be as God intended. That is evident wherever the eye turns, now more than ever.
This is a result of the choices that humanity has made, and will continue to make in the many aspects of society. For humanity has been deceived, just as our ancestors were.
However, within the personal circumstances of each individual person, it may not seem to be a choice of lifestyle that is the problem rather, an impossible or incurable state of living.
You may not be able to go to a church to pray, due to physical illness. Or you may be experiencing anxiety or a deep sense of loneliness.
“Here is the good news: there is a cure, and that cure is a faithful friend. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that friendship is a reflection and result of God’s inexhaustible outpouring.”
You may be in a state of spiritual dryness or darkness, especially during this season of Great Lent, feeling as though you are paralysed, trapped or left alone.
Paralysis in one form or another is a universal experience. Yet is that the end of the road? Is there a cure? A glimpse of hope? Or is a sense of powerlessness all that seems to remain?
Here is the good news: there is a cure, and that cure is a faithful friend. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that friendship is a reflection and result of God’s inexhaustible outpouring (CCC 1045).
It is a giving of oneself for the sake of another, as Jesus said: “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). The world in need of this outpouring of love, right now.
What is friendship to you? Are you in need of a friend? Or have you given up searching?
In the Maronite liturgical calendar this year the feast of St Joseph and the Sunday of the Paralytic fall on the same day, 19 March.
In the traditional Maronite hymn known as the “Ziyah Mar Youssef”, the lyric “friend of the most high,” is chanted by the congregation to describe St Joseph himself.
This insight illustrates the friendship that Jesus’ earthly father had with his heavenly father. It is one of the many gems to be found within the church’s rich tradition.
In juxtaposition, we see in the Gospel of the paralytic that the paralytic is brought to Jesus by his friends. What a faithful bunch of friends he had.
In Mark’s account of this miracle, it is said that when Jesus saw the faith of these friends, He said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven you” (Mark 2:5).
We also, with our own paralysis, are brought to Jesus by he who is the friend of the most high, St Joseph.
Just as Jesus looked at the faith of the friends of the paralytic, he also looks at the faith of his foster father and says to you, as he said to the paralytic: “You are free of your paralysis! Stand up, pick up your former way of life and walk with me.”
“Pray with the icon of St Joseph that depicts him carrying the child Jesus, for it is Jesus who gives rest …”
What an insight this is, some spiritual nourishment needed to take on the journey of Great Lent that continues.
St Joseph is here to carry us when we find ourselves unable to get up under the heaviness of our cross.
The carpenter that he is, he knows too well the fatigue of hard labour and how much the body, mind, spirit and soul need to rest.
Pray with the icon of St Joseph that depicts him carrying the child Jesus, for it is Jesus who gives rest to the soul.
When our soul finds rest may we, through the intercession of St Joseph, carry our friends to Jesus. And together arrive at the port of salvation and participate in the passion, death and resurrection of our dear Jesus.
Joseph is currently completing a Master of Arts (Chaplaincy Studies) at the University of Notre Dame. He is Choir Leader at St Raymond’s Maronite Parish in Sydney.