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What St Joseph teaches about the Holy Spirit

What St Joseph teaches about the Holy Spirit
Fr Augustine Vallooran, VC
Jesus speaks of how the Spirit of truth keeps us connected to the Holy Trinity. This is the assurance that we shall never be lost to God or be lacking in life.

 

While assuring the disciples of guidance even after His departure from the earth, the Lord presents for them the Holy Spirit as “the Spirit of truth” with the assurance that “He will guide you into all the truth” (Jn 16:13). No one is to settle for partial truths, for we are offered the option of receiving the whole truth from the Holy Spirit.

 

What is the Whole Truth?

The whole truth of the circumstances of our lives is understood in the context of God’s plan for us. Every one of us is created according to a specific plan and sent to the world with a purpose. None of us is born by chance nor does anything happen to us at random. Whatever happens to us is the unfolding of the plan of God. “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

Every event taking place in our life is the unfolding of the plan of God, quite similar to what we see in the flower unfolding its petals. Therefore, if we want to understand what is the meaning, the purpose and the real truth of whatever is happening to us we need to place it in the context of the definite plan God has for our life. If we try to understand the events of our life outside of the context of God’s plan it would be a partial truth. It will never satisfy us, and is sure to lead us to confusion, despair and disaster.

 

St Joseph’s Mission of Truth

The gospels present for us the beautiful example of the journey of St. Joseph to the fullness of truth. Here was the man chosen by God to be the foster father of Jesus. Mary, a beautiful girl from his own village Nazareth was betrothed to him. Joseph was weaving dreams of a wonderful family life with Mary. It was then that Mary was found to be with child. Joseph was shattered. He could not understand or accept this unexpected turn of events. He surely questioned in his heart “Why is this happening to me?” In deep distress he sought the full truth about this fact. He went to the synagogue authority who was just as shocked by this news about Mary. This religious leader presented what he knew as the application of the Law of Moses to this event. Mary is to be stoned to death. Then Joseph would be free to follow his dreams with another girl. Joseph could not accept this solution. The synagogue authority was trying to interpret the phenomenon in the light of the Mosaic Law. But Joseph waited. He refused to go by a suggestion that did not fill his heart. His waiting had a surrender attached to it. He decided that Mary must live. This also required that he had to leave Nazareth. If he continued to live there, he would have had to declare that Mary is pregnant without his consent and knowledge. So he decided to go to a foreign country. A painful option, for it meant losing his identity and his future. His dreams were ended. Yet he waited in prayer. That’s when the revelation came of the full truth that this was according to God’s plan for the salvation of humankind. Mary had conceived by the Holy Spirit and the Son will be the Saviour of the world.

Joseph understood the God-ordained mission would be accomplished through the uncalculated sequence of events. That was the full truth that no human intellect or law could perceive. This truth liberated him from his grief of uncertainty. He was now enabled to be a powerful link in the history of salvation.

One thing is definite that if Joseph had not waited in prayer, he could have wrecked God’s grand plan of salvation for humankind. If he had blindly followed the Mosaic law, Mary would have been handed over to be stoned to death and the baby in her womb would have been killed. Even a sympathetic response of self-exile would not have matched God’s glorious purpose. If Joseph had settled for anything less than the whole truth, a tragedy would have surely taken place.

The reality is that we wreck God’s plan of salvation by our hasty settling for half-truths. If we do not care to wait for the revelation of the whole truth we are sure to misunderstand the events of our lives and bypass God’s good and glorious plan of salvation in which everyone has a crucial role.

St Joseph invites us to wait in prayer and surrender our lives to God. When we do so, we are spared of anxiety. We experience God’s protection. Wisdom guides our decisions. God’s plan unfolds and our lives will be a blessing and a sign of hope for generations to come.

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