“Joseph did as the angel of the Lord directed him.”

Mt 1:24

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Parents.  The good parent.

Today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph the universal patron of the Church and patron of the Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross.  It is also my mother’s birthday.  We would have celebrated her 87th birthday were she still alive today.

We can learn a great deal about parenting and faithfulness from St. Joseph – his actions speak to us.  He was a faithful man, one who knew his religion and adhered to what God sought from him without dissent.  He was obedient and honored God by honoring his role as a parent, father, husband and family protector.

He shows us fidelity, care for his child, love of his wife, devotion to his faith. His life was one of quiet and unselfish love.  In caring for Mary and Jesus he showed us one who watched over others and cherished the gifts God gave him – a faith, a spouse and a child.  He guarded the sacred realities God gave to all of us – belief, a Mother and a Holy Child.

I cannot think of St. Joseph without seeing my mother.  She was for me, her only child, both mother and father.  She raised me in a tough environment and with little income.  She conducted herself with dignity, extraordinary strength of character, sacrifice, pluck, common sense, confidence in God and good humor.  She loved me more than self.  And yet she consciously raised me to be independent, to leave the nest and prosper in a world of challenges and opportunities.  She was always my side-kick and confidant.  When some people have two parents neither of whom devote themselves to their children, I had one who served as two and devoted herself to raising me as one who God had given to her.

St. Joseph and my mother – they had a lot in common.  How God’s economy works wonders!  We are given what looks like a glass not full only to find we have more than a glass can hold.

Be a good parent.  Attend to your child.  Guide them.  Prepare them for independence and the world they will occupy.  That is a sacred task.  Live it out in faith.

God bless.  And Happy Birthday, Mom.

Father, strengthen our parents so they might put their children first, that they might teach and guide their little ones to live to serve others, give each parent wisdom and lead them to love endlessly the children they are gifted to have.  Amen.