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, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.
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.
Sleep doesn’t come easy to a troubled mind. Our worries, fears, and anxieties play out on a continuous loop inside our minds, accompanied by a soundtrack of “Why me?”, “How could this happen?”, “What should I do?”. It’s usually the last one – “What should I do?” that keeps us up at night. We search our minds, our memories, and our hearts for some semblance of an answer or a solution.
In today’s Gospel, we hear of Joseph’s own struggle with the reality of his situation: the woman to whom he is betrothed is with child. But, as Pope Francis explained, despite Joseph’s initial plan to quietly divorce Mary, “Joseph’s rest revealed God’s will to him. In this moment of rest in the Lord, as we pause from our many daily obligations and activities, God is also speaking to us.” The pope himself keeps a figure of the sleeping St. Joseph on his table, and encourages people to place notes with their problems or prayers under the sleeping saint.
What is keeping you up at night? Take that to St. Joseph and ask him to “sleep on it” for you.
—Jackie Schulte is the Dean of Faculty Formation and a history teacher at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, NE.
O Saint Joseph, you are a man greatly favored by the Most High.
The angel of the Lord appeared to you in dreams, while you slept….
You were both silent and strong, a loyal and courageous protector.
Dear Saint Joseph, as you rest in the Lord, confident of His absolute power and goodness, look upon me. Please take my need into your heart, dream of it, and present it to your Son.
Help me then, good Saint Joseph, to hear the voice of God,
to arise, and act with love.
—Prayer to the Sleeping St. Joseph, adapted by Jackie SchultePlease share the Good Word with your friends!