On this world day of prayer for Vocations during the year of St. Joseph, Pope Francis suggests that there are three key ways in which Joseph is a guide for our vocation:
The first word is the Dream. Everyone dreams of finding fulfilment in life. We rightly nurture great hopes, lofty aspirations that ephemeral goals – like success, money and entertainment – cannot satisfy. If we were to ask people to express in one word their life’s dream, it would not be difficult to imagine the answer: “to be loved”. It is love that gives meaning to life, because it reveals life’s mystery. Indeed, we only have life if we give it; we truly possess it only if we generously give it away. Saint Joseph has much to tell us in this regard, because, through the dreams that God inspired in him, he made of his life a gift.
The second word is Service. The Gospels show how Joseph lived entirely for others. The holy people of God invoke Joseph as the most chaste spouse, based on his ability to love unreservedly. By freeing love from all possessiveness, Joseph became open to an even more fruitful service. His loving care has spanned generations; his attentive guardianship has made him patron of the Church. As one who knew how to embody the meaning of self-giving in life, Joseph is also the patron of a happy death. His service and sacrifices were only possible, however, because they were sustained by a greater love: “Every true vocation is born of the gift of oneself.”
The third word is Fidelity. Joseph is the “righteous one” (Mt 1:19) who daily perseveres in quietly serving God and God’s plans. At a particularly difficult moment in his life, he thoughtfully considered what to do (cf. v. 20). He did not let himself be hastily pressured. He did not yield to the temptation to act rashly, simply following his instincts or living for the moment. Instead, he pondered things patiently. He knew that success in life is built on constant fidelity to important decisions. This was reflected in his perseverance in plying the trade of a humble carpenter (cf. Mt 13:55), a quiet perseverance that made no news in his own time, yet has inspired the daily lives of countless fathers, labourers and Christians ever since. For a vocation – like life itself – matures only through daily fidelity.
Let us pray that all will experience the joy of vocation in lofty dreams, in humble service and sincere fidelity to their vocation.
May God bless those who have generously made God the dream of their lives, serving God in their brothers and sisters through a fidelity that is a powerful testimony and a source of lasting joy.
May Saint Joseph, protector of vocations, accompany you on your journey!