Thoughts for the Week - Fr R Taouk
19th January 2014
It seems that all too often we see suffering as a thing to
be escaped, we view it as an enemy, and as a result we are
perpetually trying to run from it. This makes our
lives often agitated and anxious. Suffering however is a
great teacher of self-knowledge. It opens up our
egoism. And self-knowledge is absolutely essential in
the spiritual life, otherwise we live in illusion. For this
reason Our Lord requires us to suffer with Him so as to be
able to be glorified with Him. If we are patient we learn.
Rather than anxiously attempt to escape we should learn what
it means "to take up one's cross."
If we look at the Catholic family, we must say that
suffering is central to the father of the family, for upon
him is set the greatest responsibility in a family. How does
he react to the difficulties which normally arise in life?
St. Joseph here, set for us a clear standard for men to
imitate in the manner that he accepted his responsibilities
and sufferings due to his union with the Blessed Virgin
1. He was profoundly humbled by the Divine Presence of
the Child conceived by Mary his wife; he accepted his
responsibility in spite of the sense of unworthiness and he
named the Child as his own.
2. He adapted himself to the hardships surrounding the
birth of the Divine Child in Bethlehem.
3. He immediately responded to the order from the
angel to take the Child and His Mother into Egypt, there he
found life as an exile difficult; and finally he once again
moved his family back to Judea when ordered by the angel to
return after the death of Herod.
4. Established in Galilee, he lived his life in
simplicity and poverty for the honour and glory of God.
5. His days were spent in this sublimely simple
manner, and his life was crowned by a holy death in the arms
of his foster Son, God Incarnate, and at the side of his
charitable and immaculate wife.
The glory of St. Joseph is that he lived as a father should:
he embraced the suffering necessary for the good of his
family and thus served as its source of unity and religious
practice. This is the model which all Catholic men must
imitate. They must embrace the suffering necessary for the
wellbeing and spiritual life of their families.
Patriarch St. Joseph - grant us many holy families'