Saturday, May 01, 2010


Joseph... Worker. Builder. Earthly contractor of Heaven's Plans. A man with feet planted deep in Judean dust, hands gripping tools of earth, you built a home for Heaven's Son. You made a veil to shelter the Holy of Holies with your very life, Joseph.

You, Joseph, heart like a gem set deep in the Heart of God. You, a man, honored the Woman, cradled the Newborn, carried that green wood that would be weathered and one day be fit for a Cross. One day. And that day you missed... or did you?

You, Joseph, watched Him nurse at the breast of your bride.... the image of absolute beauty: a God nourished by His own creature. Humility wrapped in the alabaster arms of the humble virgin, the beloved, the dove, your beautiful one. You saw this, breathed it. Joseph. Sitting on a wooden stool whittling a wooden toy as He suckled at her breast. What thoughts moved you then? What hot tears mingling joy, awe, pain, wrapped in the swaddling clothes of your trembling humanity? Joseph...

Did you know? The sapling you carried, weak as willow wands, so supple, still a boy stretching toward Heaven, would one day be stretched by man's brutality, fixed on the very beams He helped you carry? A boy like any other, seemingly, and walking amidst others with a covered light you knew in more intimate hours that none can know until the Veil lifts: you, Joseph, bathed His tender feet, washed his little hands at day's end from the dust and dirt of His eager apprenticeship.

Those hands that shaped the universe you cradled in the callous tools of your own hands. Did you know, Joseph, the hammer He held for you, with bright eyes watching you work, would one day fall on His palms in pain unspeakable. Ah! How could you bear it? What irony! In His carrying iron nails to you with quickened pace as boys will help their fathers, did you hear the echo of the prophet's verse; "They have pierced my hands and my feet. They have numbered all my bones." How could you know, Joseph, and still work those tools, carry those beams, see that dust shimmer over wooden planks as the sun poured its golden oil over the shop at day's end? And the young Christ there, breathing, sweating, smiling up at you in those early years?

Your heart, then, not a sword must have pierced. But nails.
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