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.

-ehw

ANCIENT PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH

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.

Good Friday Quest

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

Kalen holds the Cross during the Blue Knight led Stations of the Cross

   On Good Friday I put together a quest for our Blue Knights group.  We visited three churches from noon to two and found short lessons at each church related to the passion of our Lord.  We completed our Quest with a boy led Stations of the Cross in our home chapel of St Micheal the Archangel at Regina Caeli Academy.  You can view a complete report on our Blue Knight website.  

   The regular group of seven had six potential recruits and our teen mentor join us for a day.  During our travels we also met with three other families and five more children.  All total it was a joy to see nine families and nineteen children participate during the day.  It was also wonderful to hear the boys sing, respond to complicated questions, and enjoy being with their fathers.  Our mother daughter team was precious as well, teaching us a lesson from the women of Jerusalem. 

   The funniest moments were at St Benedict at both the beginning and end of Stations.  When the thirteen boys marched in with capes and uniform colored shirts followed by Dads, people stopped and wondered who we were.  You could actually hear the whispers and see the heads turn.  I must admit it was a quiet but very visual spectacle.  At the end of stations I could see the pastor observing the long row of boys…I know he did not know who we were and was wondering where we came from.  I think I’ll drop him a note and thank him.

    It was awesome to have fathers on board taking time with their sons to learn lessons, and mothers who spend great amounts of time building classically formed children inside their homes.  I could see how each family was not using a cookie cutter approach to evangelization.  It was easy to see families identifying what each child in their family needed, and searching out different methods of teaching each child.  It was inspiring, and motivated  me to continue doing the same with my sons.

       The most reflective moment was after the boys completed their stations.  Two boys quickly noted as we reflected on the death of Christ, the clock struck three.  The timing was not choreographed, but perfectly summed up our day traveling with Christ to and through the cross.

    Thank you Jesus for letting us participate with your in your passion on this Good Friday.

-ehw

    

And so it begins…the Triduum

    The commisioning of priests and institution of the Eucharist...two great gifts

    The commisioning of priests and institution of the Eucharist…two great gifts

    The beauty of Holy Thursday never escapes me  Last night as even more beautiful because of the lessons taught to me by so many God seeking people over the last year. Lessons from people who past over 1800 years ago, and lessons from those living amongst us now filled my mind, heart and warmed my soul as we heard the liturgy of the word and celebrated the liturgy of the Eucharist

   Father Tri, of St Brigid Catholic Church, reminded us the story of each life is what makes the church breathe the world. The story each life brings to the church helps pass on its’s lessons and beauty from generation to generation  These stories allow the priesthood of the family to connect with the priesthood of the Church.  To make this occur we all must listen, observe and react to the wisdom of God as it works its way into our lives throug everyone around us. 

   The Holy Eurcharist is the foretaste of heaven, the perfect mana, needed to nourish our souls with the grace to navigate e challenges of a fallen world.  When taken in concert with reconciliation it enables us to stay on the path to heaven.  It keeps Christ within our very blood…commingling a bit of heaven with our life here on earth..as we go about our day.  So when we say take Christ with you wherever you go, if we partake of this holy nurishment we can do exactly that.  No other God before or since offered such a gift to mortals.  In fact no other God offered to make lowly man part of himself, and join in perfect communion in heaven, for all eternity if we choose to do so.

   Pray for our priests that they may lead all souls to heaven.  Pray for our priesthood in the family, that each man will be willing to lead their family to the best of their ability to the altar of God.  Pray each mother makes their home a place where the stories of old, new and the future will enable The word of God to reach fertile ears and move those souls to Christ.  Pray for the religious, that by their concerted life they make offerings the rest of us cannot for the salvation of the world.

   So let us begin our Triduum journey, and honor the sacrifices made to bring us all the way to heaven.

-ehw

 

 

Kalen helping bring the gifts forward with our Decon in formation Randy Ortiz

Kalen helping bring the gifts forward with our Decon in formation Randy Ortiz

Knightly Calling for Fathers in an age of Materialism

    Fathers have many responsibilities towards their children.  The foremost is to call them to adulthood.  By adulthood I will further clarify by defining this as the ability of a person to take responsibility for their actions, care for themselves, and to assume the role as a mentor to others.  Fathers undertake this task in many ways, since fathers and their children are each unique in personality and temperament.   Looking at the headlines today, one can see the effects of a world where fatherhood was neglected or neutered by over feminization for a generation.

   The first and foremost venue to raise a child into adulthood is the home.  In the home a father can, and should demonstrate the agape and friendship needed to make a marriage thrive through the many challenges life throws our way.  When a child sees the toil we go through, and many forms of love needed to keep this vital relationship alive, they will be better prepared to be a spouse themselves.  Logically, this also provides proper formation for our religious as well to serve the families placed in their care.

    Other outside venues should serve to enhance those homebound lessons.  You can use sports, camping, youth groups, lego clubs or an organization like Blue Knights clubs to reinforce those internal values.  The key to successful use of these other venues will be how you as a Father keep Christ in the center, and make a child move towards the three goals of adulthood mentioned above.

   I believe a key ingredient to raising a child in the Western tradition is the inclusion of chivalry in all we fathers do, and expect of our children.  Chivalry is in no way an outdated concept for men or women.  It actually puts in place a set of guidelines to create peaceful order amongst people, without a need for governmental intervention in all human relationships.  

    Chivalry sets us all under the kingship of God.  Christians know all our works here on earth will receive judgement at the end of our lives, and determine our eternal home.  This provides vital aspect of accountability lacking in modernism. It also conforms with the teachings of the Catholic faith we seek to instill into our children’s lives.

    Once we assume we are under the kingship of God, everything else starts falling in place.  We respect our elders and mentors.  We assume responsibility for our personal care, and seek not to burden others with our poor or slothful decisions.  We serve at the feet of those who teach us, and serve those placed in our care when posted to leadership positions.  We respect our bodies, and keep them pure to fulfill our adult vocation.  We respect the opposite sex, and marvel in the ways our complementary natures build the kingdom of God on earth better than one alone.  

    As fathers we seek to move our children towards these principles of life.  Chivalrous fathers do not make excuses, or blame others for our personal or children’s failures to reach ideal behavior.  Instead of complaining, we work towards righting the wrong or finding the cause of a problem. Chivalrous fathers also do not run from their duties, they embrace them.  We use the marvelous gifts of the Holy Mother Church to obtain spiritual forgiveness, guidance, and the strengthening fortification of Eucharist. When we see a need of a youngster who is without a chivalric example in life, we provide it.

    Fathers have a Knightly call. Fathers and men who respond to this call can do a great deal to help put Godly order back into the world.  In this author’s opinion, it might be a great way to help the world our one Knight at a time.