A dear friend of mine shared a quote from Archbishop Fulton Sheen this morning about St. Joseph that is beautiful and it got me thinking. Here is the quote:
“…Joseph was probably a young man, strong, virile, athletic, handsome, chaste, and disciplined; the kind of man one sees sometimes shepherding sheep, or piloting a plane, or working at a carpenter’s bench. Instead of being a man incapable of love, he must have been on fire with love… Instead, then, of being dried fruit to be served on the table of the king, he was rather a blossom filled with promise and power. He was not in the evening of life, but in its morning, bubbling over with energy, strength, and controlled passion.”
And this makes me think of God’s call to the men in the world today. Because in my experience, I have seen the expectation of the call to young men for the priesthood and the expectation of the call to older men to the diaconate.
Truth be told, my husband Charlie and I were the youngest couple in our diaconate formation class and our presence came as a surprise to many people. I remember being called in for our first interview and waiting in the lobby for the person interviewing us. His first words upon greeting us were, “Wow, you guys are young!”
All throughout our time in formation we (and one other couple who was a little bit older but also had younger children at home) were different because of our age. Surrounded by couples who had already raised children and were grandparenting, some celebrating retirement and most others in a completely different stage of life then us; sometimes we doubted whether or not it was the right “time” to do this. The right “time” to answer God’s call. We stayed the course and as you know now, my husband is a Permanent Deacon for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. All praise and glory be to God!
But this quote from Archbishop Sheen reminded me once again about the importance of answering God’s call WHEN He calls you. Joseph is described as a righteous man and was going to divorce Mary quietly. But when the angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid and who she was carrying, Joseph was receiving at that moment, God’s call to him and he answered it then and there.
And if we apply Archbishop Sheen’s interpretation of Joseph, then Joseph chose his vocation, he answered God’s call in the time of his life that we automatically associate with fruits to be offered to the world. What we have given of ourselves to the world, God has called us to give to Him, right now. First fruits.
If you are waiting to retire to become a deacon, why? Do you only have dried fruit to offer the king? Are you under the assumption that you will not have the time to offer to God until you retire, your kids move out, etc.? Then what really are we offering to God? We hear the call, but do not respond. Worse yet, we hear the call and ask God to wait. Even worse than that is allowing ourselves to be distracted with what we feel we have to give to the world that we do not even hear the call of God in our lives. We miss the call entirely.
Did you know God was calling you? Yes, you. Answer Him.
Today, I pray that in the hearts of all men, young and old, that there is a willingness to hear God calling them and a courage in them to answer that call – right now. God knows who you are (He created you!), and He knows what you have got going on in your life right now as well (He is the Creator of Time itself!) so do not be afraid. Do not worry.
Be like the example of Joseph and answer the call. God bless you!
St. Joseph, foster father to God Incarnate, pray for us! †
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