Pope Francis reflected on the example of Saint Joseph in his homily at Tuesday morning’s Mass. He also prayed for several disabled Slovakian children who had made Christmas decorations for the chapel.
Turning to St. Joseph, the Pope called him “a man of dreams… who knows how to accompany others in silence.”
Wisdom of good parents
The Holy Father said the day’s Gospel reading (Mt 1:18-25) presents Joseph as “a righteous man, who observed the Law, worked hard, was humble, and loved Mary.” When first faced with something he did not understand, “he preferred to step back” but “God revealed to him his mission.” So St. Joseph took up his new role wholeheartedly, and helped raise the Son of God, “in silence, without judging, without speaking poorly of others, and without gossiping.”
“He helped him grow and develop. So he looked for a place for the child to be born. He looked after him, helped him grow, and taught him to work: many things… in silence. He never took possession of the child for himself. He silently let him grow. He let him grow: This idea could help us immensely, we who by nature always want to stick our noses in everything, especially in the lives of others… And we start gossiping, talking… But he let him grow, silently watching over him and helping him.”
Pope Francis said many parents have the wise attitude of caring for their children without being overbearing. He said they have the capacity to wait, without immediately yelling if the child makes a mistake. It’s important to know how to wait, he said, before saying something to help them grow.
God, the Pope said, has the same patient attitude with His children, since He waits in silence.
Man of dreams
The Holy Father also explored St. Joseph’s capacity to dream, saying he was a practical man but kept his heart open like “a man of dreams” and not like “a dreamer”.
“Dreams are a privileged place to seek after truth, because there we cannot defend ourselves against the truth. They come, and God speaks through dreams. Not always, because often it is our subconscious that comes forth, but many times God choses to speak through dreams. He often did so in the Bible. In dreams. But Joseph was a man of dreams, but not a dreamer, okay? He wasn’t abstract. A dreamer is something different. It’s someone who believes… goes off… has his head in the clouds, and doesn’t have his feet on the ground. Joseph had his feet on the ground. But he was open-minded.”
Don’t lose the ability to dream
Finally, Pope Francis invited us not to lose the ability to dream and to open ourselves to tomorrow with trust, despite the difficulties that may come.
“Don’t lose the ability to dream the future. Each of us needs to dream about our family, our children, and our parents: to imagine how I would like their lives to go. Priests, too, need to dream about what we want for the faithful. Dream as the young dream, who are ‘unabashed’ in their dreams and find their path there. Do not lose the ability to dream, because to dream is to open the door to the future. Be fruitful in the future.”