“Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you!” Anxiety must have been a constant factor in the life of Joseph, all because of his son Jesus. Even before his marriage to Mary, when it became clear that she was pregnant, an angel had to assure him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife! And then there was the night of the child’s birth when there simply was no room for them at the Inn. Not long afterward he had to take Jesus to Egypt so Herod wouldn’t find and kill him. And now the boy was beginning to do and say things he and Mary simply did not, could not, understand. Of course the two of them were anxious!

Anxiety: I experience it myself in many ways. Life in a world like ours has a lot of sharp edges. When I feel myself afraid, when I don’t know just what I ought to do, and wonder if I can continue to cope with complexity – Lord, help me with the example of Joseph!

Compared to his, my life is a piece of cake: he was just an ordinary man, a working man without much sophistication – but he was given the task of safeguarding the two most important people in humankind’s history! Joseph, stand by me in my small anxieties, bolster me up when I don’t see the way ahead of me clearly, when I can’t decide just what I ought to do. Help me trust in the God who saw you safely through life. This Lent, put in a good word for me with God’s Son, who was your son too.

St. Joseph, pray for me !

—Fr. John J. O’Callaghan, S.J. is senior chaplain  for the health sciences division at Loyola  University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood IL