Greetings my brother and sisters,

Last month we ended our reflections on the numbered sections of the Apostolic Letter, Patris Corde, promulgated by Pope Francis on the occasion of the Year of St. Joseph. However, we have not reached the end of the letter yet. Pope Francis writes at the conclusion of the document his chief aim in writing it:

The aim of this Apostolic Letter is to increase our love for this great saint, to encourage us to implore his intercession and to imitate his virtues and his zeal.

It is my hope that my reflections over these past months have been able to help you realize this goal of Pope Francis. St. Joseph has always been a favorite of mine, especially since my middle name if Joseph and I belong to a Congregation dedicated to him. My love for him has only increased as I have come to understand his importance in the mystery of salvation and the key role he continues to play in the life and mission of the Church. I implore his intercession each and every morning to help me be faithful to my religious vows and to watch over and guide the Church and her faithful through life and unto death.  I am the first to admit that the biggest challenge is to “imitate his virtues and his zeal” but I am working on it! I encourage all of you to do the same

Pope Francis continues in his conclusion to make a very important statement about saints in general:

Indeed, the proper mission of the saints is not only to obtain miracles and graces, but to intercede for us before God…The saints help all the faithful “to strive for the holiness and the perfection of their particular state of life”. Their lives are concrete proof that it is possible to put the Gospel into practice.

The saints were not super–human or other-worldy while on this earth. They had to deal with temptation and hardship just as we do and much of the time to a greater degree. The did not do something impossible for us to do if we, like them, strive to live with and in God at all moments, by remaining constantly in the presence of Jesus and filled with his spirit. Let us strive to do just that at this very moment!

Let us especially ask them to help us in discerning our vocation. After all, who better than a saint can inspire and guide us to our true call? They did so in a most excellent way. And some of them had a hard time doing it! Pope Francis mentions in particular one saint in this regard:

Before the example of so many holy men and women, Saint Augustine asked himself: “What they could do, can you not also do?” And so he drew closer to his definitive conversion, when he could exclaim: “Late have I loved you, Beauty ever ancient, ever new!”

We can also experience this conversion and discover our vocation by invoking all of the saints and in particular St. Joseph. “We need only ask Saint Joseph for the grace of graces: our conversion”. May it be done.

Fr. Brian, OSJ