Joseph’s Consolation

St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey
St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey

The rhythmic sound of a man steadily hammering away at work always brings to mind our dear St. Joseph. What a man! St. Joseph was a strong workman as so many good men who labor to provide the basics for their families today. Like them, Joseph came home tired after a long day at work. How happy he must have been to find Mary waiting for him, her eyes full of love as she met him at the door, holding the most beautiful child that ever graced the earth in her arms. As Jesus grew up in their home, the love between Mary and Joseph grew as well. Both were totally-given to the Holy Spirit, completely wed to Him. Because of this, they could love each other with deep purity, safeguarding the other’s total dedication to God. When Joseph returned from work each day, Mary met him with her loving and understanding heart. Her smile expressed deep appreciation for his goodness and beauty and for all he had done for her and Jesus during the day. Her love kept Joseph strong and gave him hope.

Mary also labored during the day for Joseph. She shared with him the hot meal, carefully prepared according to his taste, and served him the water that was patiently drawn and carried home from the well. She also cared for the Light of his eyes, the little Jesus, looking after all the Savior’s needs with great tenderness. Joseph watched Jesus blossom in her love. Mary made, mended, and hand-washed the Holy Family’s clothes. She kept their home warm and welcoming, planned and prepared all their meals, and watched over the animals – all without the benefit of modern conveniences! What a beautiful married love they had for one another and for God, Who was living in the midst of them in their home! In our children today, God can be seen shining through, allowing married couples a very similar experience of living with God’s pure bundles of love right there under their care!

This deep love that Mary and Joseph had for one another was rooted in the Holy Spirit’s presence living within them. Their love was real, it was selfless, and so it moved them to serve the other and to labor the way their son Jesus would later model for his disciples to love. Jesus taught them to wash each other’s feet, to feed the hungry, visit the sick and imprisoned, basically to be lovingly attentive to the needs of others. This is what He learned from Mary and Joseph. The love that they had for one another in their hearts sanctified their work and made it joyful instead of burdensome. Mary served Joseph and Joseph served Mary, laboring each day for the other and for their son, Jesus.

I saw this lived out every day of my life at my own home where my mother and father labored to care for each other and for all six children, engaging in the ever-present battle to let love reign in all things. Though they supported one another with little acts of kindness and attentiveness during the day, their special time to share heart to heart was later at night, after all the needs had quieted down, and I could hear them talking as they got ready for bed. I will never forget the beauty of my mom listening to my dad as he shared about his day, entrusting his heart to her care. Her loving response restored his energies for the next day’s labor just as Mary’s restored Joseph’s, and it worked the other way around too. The daily labor we all do is sanctified by the love in our hearts for the people in our lives. What a very simple plan for holiness God has given us all.

By: Sister Isabelle, O.C.D.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

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920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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By Carmelite Sisters

Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service