19 March 2012

St. Joseph: The Spirit of Poverty

God should be EVERYTHING to you, and you should be NOTHING to yourself.

If any task of yours, whether it be the conquering of a vice, a penance or due mortification, or any duty according to your state, whatever it might be, seems abhorrent to you or cause you to recoil even in the slightest by its undertaking and even for a moment, promptly remember that as it is your duty, it is given to you by God.  The task that is most abhorrent to you, is the greatest medicine for your sickened soul and weak will, because every duty of yours suits you according to God's Providence (God's Will).  And to say that it 'suits you', is only in the context that it is, in fact, a tremendous mercy, and in that remembrance, one should seek to promptly and more assiduously apply himself to those tasks that are, by that portion of his will that is yet ordered to God, that are, to him, least desirable.  This is the proof of one's professed love for God, and will do more to bring him to unite his will to God's than any other activity, regardless of how it is perceived by man, since such reluctance to do one's duty is a sign of that distance one holds himself away from God.  

Remember St. Joseph's spirit of poverty; his humility is what allowed him to carry out his tasks as the foster-father of Jesus.  One who carefully observes even that little that we know of this great saint, will notice that his wisdom was NOT at all of the way of the world, but rather, he had within him the very humility and meekness of God, given to him by his meekness and promptness to do whatever God willed and as He willed.  St. Joseph trusted not himself, but God, even when God was silent to him.    St. Joseph sought only God, as he saw him to be not only the source of all God, but God, to St. Joseph, was his every good, his all.

As God was St. Joseph's all, St. Joseph was able to have a spirit of detachment for all created goods.  As the great saint and Doctor of the Church described of herself, St. Teresa of Avila said it was important only "to use (created things) as if I use them not."    Detachment of created goods offers one the ability to see themselves clearly and consistently in the eyes of God, as their end is in view (the "Four Last Things"), and therefore, created goods are used to the end of God's Will.  It is only by uniting one's will to God that one's  efforts to a given task gathers merit and the fruit of God's blessing.