Saint Joseph! I met him in 1986 … but it was in 2000 that we became fellow travelers because I was inspired to write a book about him from the Gospel of Matthew. What interested me was entering into his spiritual experience. The central element of this encounter was to grasp how I was called to move from my own dreams to God's Dream of my life. I understood then, like Joseph, that my marriage, imagined with all my plans, was to be taken up, transformed, and guided by God's Dream.
This Dream became a quest, for it guided me to my deepest identity, to my birth into the one word of God that I am called to be in the One Word that is the Son. And I discovered while meditating on this gospel, that my yes implied that of Mary, but also that of Joseph. The incarnation of the Word (Son) in me called for a yes that was said from the immaculate place of the heart, but also, with Joseph, a yes that consented to welcome Jesus in the wounded part of my being.
This reality appeared to me so right when Joseph was called to go with Mary and Jesus to Egypt, to that land of slavery. I see the relevance of this necessary visit to my Egypt in the spiritual accompaniment center where I work, Le Pèlerin, because "from Egypt, I called my son" (Mt 2:15). It is vital to open and consent to this inner journey in order to be born from above. This real experience of resurrection is at the heart of the life of Father Moreau and the Congregation of the Holy Cross (for as the Constitutions say, "The resurrection is a daily event for us” (8:119)). I also found that it had an impact on my role as a father, because I was passing on to my two children not only life, but also this part of death in me.
Joseph accompanied me in this birth of myself in order to lead me to the Dream of God for my life and to live this experience of Annunciation in me where I must let the Son be born. Moreover, he particularly made me understand that I am called to become a son before being a father, because it is the Son who makes me a son: "He who has seen me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9).
Read more about the patrons of Holy Cross
Joseph taught me to live this birth in the heart of my daily life. He was the first to learn, with Mary, to walk in amazement at the mystery of this Word who becomes flesh: "What we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have contemplated, what our hands have touched with the Word of life (...) we proclaim to you" (1 Jn 1:1.3). This experience is an experience for everyone.
This experience was at the heart of Father Moreau's life. This Dream of God was lived as a communication between the human and religious family, and the Trinitarian family (Father, Son, and Spirit). The experience of the unity of this family became the center of the Congregation of Holy Cross and its mission in the world.
I was deeply moved when Father Moreau described his plan for the Congregation this way: "to found three establishments dedicated to the most holy hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and united among themselves as the Holy Family.” Since this “meeting” with Father Moreau, I pray every day to these three hearts, that they may guide me in this adventure of God’s Dream on my life and that they may draw me into the "Trinitarian family", not lived as an abstraction, but in the daily life of our families, our work, ... within this great human family.
This reflection for the Feast of St. Joseph, the Patron of the Holy Cross Brothers, was written by Mr. Stéfan Thériault, who has been the Director of Le Pèlerin in Montreal, Quebec, in Canada for 22 years. This center offers a service of spiritual accompaniment as well as a formation for this ministry so precious in the Church. Mr. Thériault is also president of the mission council for the Province Canadienne of the Congregation of Holy Cross.