By Joseph Wehbe
Has anyone ever told you to ‘sleep on it and let God do the rest’ before having to make a big decision?
As we continue through the season of the Glorious Birth in our Maronite Church, also known as the season of the announcements, we are introduced to a righteous man in the New Testament whose name is Joseph.
Joseph was planning to dismiss a young woman named Mary, who he was betrothed to, because he was told by Mary, that she was to conceive a child not by him, but by the Holy Spirit. And this child will be the Son of God who will become the Saviour of the world.
Now just stop for a moment and imagine you are Joseph!
You are faced with this challenge and can no longer bear the pressures it brings. How would you react to this news? What would you do? Would you run away from it all? File a divorce? Speak to your therapist? Or would you sleep on it?
St Joseph is inviting us to take up a radical approach.
Bring your fears and doubts to the Lord and take a spiritual nap. Sit uncomfortably in the silence, give the Lord your situation and rest in His love hoping that God would provide you with the wisdom needed to make the right decision.
When was the last time you sat in silence, laid down the heavy burden of your life and contemplated that God is with you in your mess?
If we have never done so, now is the time to start. For it is in the silence that God reveals the divine reality of His purpose for us as He did with Saint Joseph.
It was in a dream that an angel appeared to Joseph and revealed to him that Mary is telling the truth: “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.”(Matt 1:20)
“We give God complete access to every aspect of our lives and abandon our will into His capable hands.”
God speaks in the silence of our hearts, and it is only when we block out the loud noise and the other voices that are consuming our thoughts, are we able to hear The Voice of truth and apply it to how we live. We will then begin to find comfort in knowing that God will take care of it all for us. This is what it means to surrender!
We start to realise why certain things happen the way that they do and the way we initially reacted, was a result of what we thought was the best way to respond to the decisions we face.
The monastic way of life is just this. It is a radical yet transformative way of living. It calls us to get used to being uncomfortable and become openhearted. We give God complete access to every aspect of our lives and abandon our will into His capable hands.
Fear, doubt, pride, and control are transformed into hope, trust, humility, and freedom. A pathway to holiness and doorway to the mysteries of Gods plan.
In the Old Testament there is also a righteous man named Joseph whom God revealed His plan to in the form of dreams. Joseph, the Son of Jacob, was the protector of all good things in the land of Egypt. Joseph, Son of David, becomes the protector of He who is Holy and the giver of all that is good. A type and archetype. We also are the type and Saint Joseph is the archetype. We become the wax seal which the stamp creates when it is pressed in the melted wax. The letter that is sealed is the Will of God with the wax seal of an act of surrender.
The saying is ‘Go to Joseph’ and this is the message of the feast of the Revelation to Joseph. When hope seems lost and fear is consuming our hearts, our guardian angels will whisper the words ‘Do not be afraid’ into the caverns of our souls.
The Holy Spirit will fill us with the graces we need to say yes just as Joseph did. Pope Francis, who promotes the devotion to the sleeping Saint Joseph, says:
“I would also like to tell you something very personal. On my table I have an image of Saint Joseph sleeping. Even when he is asleep, he is taking care of the Church! So, when I have a problem, a difficulty, I write a little note and I put it underneath Saint Joseph, so that he can dream about it! In other words, I tell him: pray for this problem!” (Pope Francis, Discussion on Sleeping St. Joseph, Manila 1/16/2015)
Let this divine revelation fill your heart with Joy in preparation to welcome Emmanuel, who is to come.
Joseph is currently completing a Master of Arts (Chaplaincy Studies) at the University of Notre Dame, Sydney campus. He is Youth Leader and Choir Leader at St Raymond’s Maronite Parish in Sydney.