St Joseph and the Mysteries of March
This year is not one of them — but there are years when the major events of our faith all fall in the month of March. In fact, it can be, that the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25th; the day on which we celebrate the beginning of our Redemption, the day when Christ was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, falls on Good Friday, Holy Saturday or even Easter Sunday: the days when Christ brought our redemption to fulfilment. In such years, there is a pleasing and special symmetry to things—the days that mark His saving work coming together and reflecting Christ himself: the beginning and the end.
There is another reason why these feasts all falling in March is special, appropriate and pleasing. St Ephrem, a fourth-century, Christian writer from the East puts it this way:
In the month of March, when the seed sprouts in the warm air, Christ, the Sheaf was sown in the earth. Death reaped and swallowed up this seed in Sheol, but the medicine of life, hidden within, burst Sheol open. In March, when lambs bleat in the meadow, the Paschal Lamb entered His Mother’s
And there is another reason, too, why this Spring month, March, is so appropriate for the mysteries of new life: In the middle of this month we celebrate the Solemn Feast of St. Joseph, Husband of the Blessed Virgin, Mary. In this Jubilee Year it’s appropriate to consider Joseph, the Foster Father of Jesus, as one of the central Mysteries of March.
The 19th March is not only a welcome relaxation of the days of Lent but an important reminder of the role that this ‘silent partner’ had in the mysteries of our Redemption. We might keep the two images that St Ephrem offers in our minds: the soil in which the seed first began to sprout—and the place in which the Lamb first learned to bleat and play. Of course that soil, that place was Nazareth—the quiet home of the Holy Carpenter.
It was in the hidden life of Nazareth—in the mysterious life of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph that the Word took flesh, that the Child grew to maturity, and that the saving mission of the Son of God took shape. St Joseph provided an essential part of the ‘soil’ of Nazareth: the saving words Christ spoke, had more than just the accent of his father, Joseph. In that home, that was quiet and prayerful, simple and shorn of wealth; in that home which was a place of charity—Jesus came to know Himself to be the Son of God.
Prayer—Simplicity –and Charity mark Nazareth and mark Lent—by them we come to know ourselves to be children of God—redeemed by the Lamb. Don’t forget to ask St Joseph to play his part in the spiritual spring-time of 2021—in your rebirth this Easter.
The picture is of a mosaic of St Joseph, Defender of the Church and Patron of Workers. Detail from an apsidal chapel in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC. Photo by Fr. Lawrence Lew OP. Source: Flickr. Licence: CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.