Two weeks ago Pope Benedict in his reflection on St. Joseph and his discovery of Mary’s maternity before they lived together, said :
Joseph, trusting in God, consents and cooperates in the plan of salvation. The divine intervention in his life could not but perturb his heart. To trust God does not mean to see everything clearly according to our criteria, it does not mean to carry out what we have planned; to trust God means to empty ourselves of ourselves and to deny ourselves, because only one who accepts himself for God can be "just" as St. Joseph, that is, can conform his own will to God's and thus be fulfilled. (Pope Benedict XVI, Vatican City, July 5, 2010)
It may sound strange that by denying ourselves we find fulfillment. Yet, such is the case. God created each one of us to love. He wants only what is the best for me and for you. So, by doing God’s will, each of us does the best that can be done for personal happiness in this life.
Concupiscence is that tendency towards sin that is in each of us even after being washed clean of original sin through the Sacrament of Baptism. Part of this is a strong attraction to selfishness, the desire to have your own way. So, one will try to avoid any discomfort by never fasting from anything, by not spending time in prayer, by going anywhere except to Church, by giving little or no alms and by refraining from a serious examination of conscience. Conversely, one will gravitate towards that which brings comfort and pleasure even if they are occasions of sins or sins themselves. Of course, each person can justify this through rationalization, excuses. Unfortunately, all this leads to a dead end. There is often deep seated anxiety and unrest—the feeling that all is not right.
What would have happened if St. Joseph had dismissed the Angel’s message in his dream where he was told not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife? He might have been a successful carpenter and found a new wife. But, he never would have known the immense joy of being the guardian of the Son of God and the spouse of the Queen of angels and men. While he did undergo some trials because he accepted the divine plan, God was with him all the way, giving him strength and happiness. Just think, he was in face to face conversation with Jesus every day, and worked along side with Him.
St. Joseph teaches us to trust God and eagerly to do His will for us. We can perfect acts of trust and submission to our heavenly Father in our lives by our own personal conversations with Jesus, that is, through prayer. Here we will find the joy that the world cannot give.