Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pausing During the Season of Lent: Let's Embrace a Saint Both Steadfast and Fearless!

(A Sicilian Altar to Saint Joseph, Made of Breads Baked in Symbolic Shapes)

As my mother noted in her post yesterday, tomorrow (March 19) is the Feast of St. Joseph, a solemnity in the Church. In many places, it is celebrated as Father’s Day. The Church gives us three readings for the solemnity, which are striking and beautiful in light of the man we celebrate. The first is about David, the second is Saint Paul commenting on Abraham’s righteousness, and the gospel passage from Matthew tells of the angel who came to Joseph and encouraged him not to be afraid of taking Mary as his wife. Both Abraham and David were men promised much by the Lord who lived to see their descendents prosper. Not so Joseph. What we know about him from Scripture is remarkably lacking in promises, but his faithfulness is manifestly apparent. When we think of Saint Joseph, we generally remember him as a tireless worker as well as good and steadfast man. But I wonder how often we think of his courageousness? Considering the episode where the angel tells him to flee into Egypt made me consider the fearlessness of this simple man, confident in his Lord. To flee your homeland with a young bride and infant son without any of the usual warnings or plans must have been an act of great courage and self-abandonment. What a beautiful example to have as the model for Christian fatherhood—a man who is both steadfast and brave!

A friend recently referred me to a website that shows some amazing pictures of food made in Sicily in honor of Saint Joseph (the image provided is one example). Apparently, in addition to being the patron of fathers, families, carpenters, and tradesmen, Saint Joseph is honored for having saved Sicily from famine during the Middle Ages. *And* he is the patron of pastry chefs! This seems especially appropriate to Saint Joseph’s being an example of steadfastness, patience, and bravery. For baking requires an additional measure of patience (sifting, kneading, and waiting for baked goods take time); as well as an extra dose of courage (breads may not rise, cakes might not set…)--the precision and risk is greater for the pastry chef. How appropriate that many honor St. Joseph by making cream puffs! They are a dessert that requires both some patience and some bravery…But, like the sacrifices Joseph himself made—so worth it! Even someone with limited pastry skills like myself can be inspired by Joseph to be a little more patient and a little more courageous in the kitchen-- and in the rest of life.

(The picture at the top of the page is taken from the following web page: Many thanks to Elisabetta Erickson who sent me the link!)

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca, so loved your recent entry on St. Joseph as I learn more and more about him. Also have enjoyed reading your entries in my Lenten Magnificat - love to make the connection between you and Jessica. Jessica and I were in Women's Familia in Atlanta together for years, and we co-facilitated the group when she first moved down from NY. What a lovely, lovely, blessed family you come from! Catherine Fuss