St. Joseph: The Eptiome of Resilience

Author: Br. John Agyemang Amponsah, C.S.C.

Holy Family

Complaints! Complaints!! Complaints!!!

Our world today is full of complaints! St. Joseph, the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus, had every reason to complain, yet Joseph was silent and composed throughout his ministry. He was silent when the shocking news of Mary’s pregnancy was broken to him. He was silent when the name of his son, Jesus, was imposed on him. Again, he was silent when he was asked to escape into Egypt with his family (cf. Mt 1:20-21, 24; 2:13).

Joseph never grumbled in his vocation. Wow! Why? He had a clear knowledge of his vocation. It will not be far-fetched to say that Joseph got the clue to his calling from the way the angel addressed him, “Joseph, son of David” (cf. Mt. 1:20 NJB).

The role of Joseph in the salvation history, therefore, cannot be underestimated. Ironically, instead of receiving special treatment from God, Joseph was tossed from one place to another. He became a wandering migrant—a task he resiliently undertook with passion. Again, he was looked down upon as a result of his carpentry vocation. Notwithstanding, he undertook this vocation with zeal and became well-known in Nazareth—“This is the carpenter’s son, surely?” (cf. Mt. 13:55 NJB).

East Africa Ordination To The Priesthood

Sometimes we feel that seeking our true vocation should be smooth sailing. Conversely, we encounter challenges we never anticipated. We ponder: What did I see in my spouse which made me profess “until death do us part”? The contemporary world frowns upon single life, what value is associated with it? What attracted me to priesthood or religious life?

And, we wonder and whine: God, you did not tell me of the mist along the way! Whoa! Wait a minute. God never promised a stress-free life. Rather, He said: “Renounce yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.” Again, He said fervidly: “You must love Me more than you love your own life” (cf. Lk. 9:23,14:26). Admittedly, the journey is tough, but God will not abandon us (cf. John 14:16). Let us emulate the resilience of Joseph and stop complaining whenever we are faced with challenges in our vocation.

Prayers to St. Joseph

St. Joseph:The Eptiome of Resilience

What sustained Joseph’s ministry? Prayer! Joseph was obliged to return to the land of Israel. Joseph had full knowledge of his vocation as the guardian of the Holy Family. Consequently, when he realized that Archelaus was a threat to his family, the silent Joseph did not remain silent but spoke with his emotions:“He was afraid to go there” (cf. Mt. 2:21-22). Joseph’s mouth was silent, uttering no words, but his heart was not silent towards God. Prayer as exemplified by Joseph is simply “the beingness with God.”

Beloved, whenever the tempest arises in our vocation journey, let’s be steadfast in prayer and God will reward our grit and resilience in the end.

In conclusion, if our past experiences have become an obstacle to our vocation, or if we are experiencing challenges right now, let Joseph’s resilience inspire and motivate us to persevere.“He who has called you is trustworthy and will carry it out”(1Thessalonians 5:24). Let us be silently attuned to God like him so as to draw the energy of resilience to be renewed and fully committed to our vocations. May Saint Joseph intercede for us!

Br. John Agyemang Amponsah, C.S.C.

Br. John Agyemang Amponsah, C.S.C., of the Province of West Africa, wrote this reflection on St. Joseph, who is the Patron of the Holy Cross Brothers. Br. John currently teaches mathematics at St. Brother Andre Senior High School in Apra, where he is also the Chairman of the Discipline Committee. He also assists with Holy Cross Family Ministries.