The Cross and St. Joseph

Every morning I can stay home St. Joseph blesses me with a cup of Joe...

Every morning I can stay home St. Joseph blesses me with a cup of Joe…

     What can you learn from a man who says nothing in the entire Bible?  It turns out we can learn a great deal from his silent example and the symbols of his biblical and tradition based stories handed down from the Patriarchs.  For this reason he is a patron saint of my family and our little Blue Knight Evangelization club.

    St. Joseph was a carpenter, and it is this trade he passed down to his son.  Working with wood is one of the oldest traditions of mankind.  In the Garden of Eden we began this tradition of working with wood through the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.  Working with first gave us the fruit of unity with God, and the later one’s fruit planted inside us the seeds of pride to create our fallen world.

    The Tree of Life required no pruning or sacrifice to care for it or provide for our souls.  Once the world fell though, God needed to send his son to set things aright.  The job required Jesus to use the materials, tools and symbols we humans could grasp.  As partakers of the Tree of Knowledge we humans always look for God to symbolize rewards for good behavior by showing us the “land of milk and honey.” Overturning our fall from grace could not however come without sacrifice and correcting the pride from the fruits of Knowledge.

    So enter into this story a carpenter.  A man who sizes up a tree, cuts it down, cures it, and then crafts it with man made tools to provide necessities of life.  A carpenter will build tools, homes, carts, and hundreds of other items to ease our daily burdens to give us a better life.  Yes the carpenter kills a tree to provide us a better life.  It is the way of things in a fallen world.

    It was the carpenter St. Joseph who provided Jesus with the earthly skills and tool set to make the very cross he will carry to Calgary.  In the Jewish tradition it would be St. Joseph who introduced Jesus to earthly scripture (remember Jesus was there when they wrote it in the Trinity), apprenticed Jesus, brought up in the knowledge of Jewish ritual, taught Jesus the culture of the world he lived in when they went to market or met customers, and ensured Jesus had a sound domestic church with his wife Mary .  St. Joseph was responsible for introducing Christ to the complete earthly tool set needed to communicate with the world the message of salvation. 

    Being the faithful and obedient son, Christ learned his lessons well.  This is why Christ took the dead wood of the cross, a barren man formed tree as his greatest tool.  While the Romans saw it as a tool for a public belittlement of men to keep their earthly power over a population, Jesus had other ideas.  Jesus took the dead tree and used it to pass through to eternal life.  Through his death he obtained the glorification briefly glimpsed at the Transfiguration for all eternity.  In this act he corrected the error of Adam and Eve, and showed us our personal path to redemption.

    Through the works of a child, we get a glimpse of the qualities of the parents who raised them.  Although St. Joseph never said a word to us in the Bible, the impact he had a profound impact on the life of Jesus.  Looking for guidance in his example and patronage for our families can greatly advance our spiritual lives towards the Tree of Life.



Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me. Amen.

Please visit The Catholic Company to see more about this prayer.

Live Love Not Vanity

Live not in vain, but in the light of Christ

Live not in vain, but in the light of Christ

    Two days ago I attended the funeral for a friend’s husband.  He passed unexpectedly after a bout with cancer.  I heard testimonials from several friends of the deceased.  They told the story of a man who lived a life of love for his fellow man.  From what his wife told me in the months we’ve worked together, these were no exaggerations.  These tales exactly described his character.  

    This gentleman was a leader.  He bore other’s burdens with joy.  He called out other men to be leaders in their homes for their wives and children.  He was the rock on whom his wife and boys could lean at any time of the day or night for support.  From what I heard, and knew from his wife, he was also not a man who allowed blind love of another person to cover up their faults in his eyes.  This man called all people to raise themselves up to meet the challenges of life.  He carried the same attitude when he looked in the mirror as well.  He had confidence in himself, but never a vanity for himself.  So when he did not know answers to life’s hard questions, he reached out to a trusted circle of friends and the Lord for guidance.

    Good men seek challenges, camaraderie, glory in the Lord, and lay down their life in service.  Somehow the best of the good men do all these things with a smile.  Obviously this gentlemen was all of these things.

    So as we stood at the Canton American Military Cemetery, I looked out at the headstones and thought of what this fallen soldier could teach others in one sentence.  It really came down to what all good military men have in common.  He lived love not vanity.

   Please pray for this family.  My friend and her two good sons lost a good husband and father.  Now they will need the strength to carry on their own lives, with the direction left by a good man in the example of a life well lived inscribed on their hearts.


PS  Just a note about the photo above.  In American Military Cemeteries on US Soil we are not legally allowed to photograph the names on the tombstones (per the custodians at the Los Angeles National Cemetery).  So in the four minutes I had to take a few photos before a huge thunderstorm…I got a few quality photos…under that specific guidance.  Took some adjustments to make sure I stayed in the law, but I think it worked out.


Raising a family comes with many challenges. One of the greatest is raising siblings to respect each other through childhood, not compete for everything, and show each other charity.  In between the challenging moments it is always encouraging to see a moment like this, when there is peace between them.  I’m glad I caught it.  It is a moment to cherish.

For once the trains are running on time!


PS Fujifilm X-E1 with the awesome 23mm 1.4

Brothers at work

Brothers at work

Hustle For Home

Hustle Bustle in Grand Central Station

Hustle Bustle in Grand Central Station

Here is the premise…I wanted to capture the interior of Grand Central Station and show how busy it is when people make a break for their trains so they can get home.  Yet on frame just did not get it done.  I had the little bits of motion here and there, but I still wanted more of the magic this place has.

So I went ahead and tried it…a seven frame HDR.   The station came out great…the people are ghosted.  The motion is both visible and implied.  Captures the hustle and bustle…and the grand interior of the station.

Ah a try at something new, and yep next time I’ll make sure the 14mm comes along.  Going to and from work I was with a one lens set up…in this case the 35mm!