Poor Saint Joseph. Talk about things not going your way! “My cherished young bride-to-be is with child! This has nothing to do with me and she’s so good…This doesn’t make any sense!” You can feel his anxiety, completely lost. Then an angel in a dream: “Do not be afraid.” Once Joseph saw the role he was to play in God’s plan, he ‘awoke’ and acted decisively. St. Ignatius’s teaching on desolation and consolation once again sheds light. Desolation: when the soul is filled with fear or negativity, is self-focused, restless, spiraling downward. Consolation: when the soul is filled with love, peace, gratitude, life-giving energy, quiet courage.

Angels are God’s messengers. Who are the angels in your life? Where do you often find God’s message, moving you from desolation to consolation? Hey Jude, the movement you need is on your shoulders – pay attention! Advent: Come Lord Jesus!

—Mark Henninger, S.J. serves as a Pastoral Care chaplain at Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood IL.