Saint Joseph's Call to Family
I don’t know if there was a particular moment where I determined my vocation to marriage and family life; it was something I always seemed to know. Not because I couldn’t see the beauty in a religious life, but because I always had in my heart a desire to love and to give myself in love, in the context of a family.
Little did I know that I would be called into the chaos and joys of a missionary family. I knew my husband had heard the call to mission work around the time we began dating, but it wasn’t until we were in the trenches of panicked parents, fundraising, and moving to Alabama, that I really began to understand that it wasn’t just my husband the Lord was calling, but me as well. I wasn’t the full-time missionary, but I quickly learned that I was also being sent. And for the first time, I understood how St Joseph probably felt, being called by the Lord by entering into a marriage.
Mary was called by God to be the mother of His Son, the Savior of the World. But Joseph was called too. “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus...” With these words, Joseph was called into mission with Mary. Not only that, but he was called to all of the difficulties and responsibilities that go along with it.
Before Mary had even lived with him as his wife, St. Joseph had to prepare for parenthood; he had to support not only his spouse but a child. He had to travel with his pregnant wife to Bethlehem, stand by her as she gave birth in a dirty animal stall, and flee to Egypt to protect the child the Lord had entrusted to him.
But Joseph’s role in salvation history was not a mere coincidence. God didn’t pick him simply because he was Mary’s betrothed. God chose him. The Lord called St. Joseph as much as He chose Mary, and although different, St. Joseph’s role in the mission was also a significant one. He was called to be the earthly father of the Son of God, a role that certainly merited ample consideration from the Heavenly Father.
When it comes to building up the Kingdom of God, no work is too small or too ordinary. It is easy to feel that our role is not important. I believe it is natural at times to feel like we are accidentally involved in God’s work rather than being called, even though we might not receive that call from an angel.
Since the beginning of time God knew where He was going to place you and did so deliberately. Only you can fulfill the role you were given. Your place in your family, your relationships, your vocation, your very existence are not accidental or coincidental. You were not an afterthought, or an easy way for God to tie up loose ends. You were called. Don’t be afraid to rise like Joseph did and follow that call.
Reflect: What might God be calling you to do?
Act: Pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for His wisdom to help you better understand and live out your call.