A Catholic Monthly Magazine

St Joseph, model for Christian Living

by Fr Kevin Head sm

by Fr Kevin Head sm

If you need a hammer to fix a nail that’s sticking out of your table, you just take the hammer and use it. A good hammer does what it is meant to do and you hardly notice that you’ve used it.

We celebrate St Joseph on the 19th of this month. St Joseph, I think, was like a good hammer in that he allowed God to use him for what God wanted done. He was a quietly effective instrument working for God, almost unnoticed.Hammer

In one of his retreat conferences in New Zealand in 1972 Fr. Jean Coste (whose picture happens to be on page 42 of this issue of the Marist Messenger), said that a Marist is to be like a good hammer. A Marist is to be open to God, an instrument of God’s love and mercy, unspectacular, doing God’s work without fanfare, unnoticed and content in the knowledge that she or he is serving God and God’s people as well as possible.

That’s always seemed to me to be a good image of how all Christians are meant to live. Just as the hammer’s work is to do what needs to be done with no dramas, the Christian’s work is to help God in getting God’s work done -- to be the good news of God’s love in the world, without bother or fuss.

St Joseph was like a good hammer in that he was used by God, open to do God’s work in God’s good time, almost unnoticed, a quietly effective instrument in God’s hands who faded from the scene when all was done that God wanted him to do.

The “wordless witness” (Evangelii Nuntiandi # 21) of St Joseph’s life is a fine model for our living as followers of Christ.

St Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of the Lord, is not only patron saint of carpenters. He is as well the patron of a happy death, of unborn children, fathers, immigrants, workers, realtors, and he is a guardian against doubt and hesitation. He is a patron of the Philippines, Vietnam, the Cook Islands and of many other countries. Clearly quite a busy chap! And as we all know, if you want something done, ask someone busy to help you. St Joseph, pray for us!

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