Strong Hands

The 4th Sunday of Advent coincides with my start of the 2nd week of The Spiritual Exercises. The Second Week is a series of meditations taken directly from the New Testament, focusing on the birth, young adult life, and eventual ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. Here I will follow Jesus in his preaching, healings, and nature miracles, which will bring me in contact, in an imaginative way, with Jesus in his earthly ministry. Timing is perfect, as these two journeys intersect. During Advent leading up to Christmas, Mary and Jesus are our focus, as they should be. But what about Joseph? This week I  thought a great deal about this man. As a father, I tried to imagine in prayer what confusion and worry must have come over Joseph during this period. I came across this picture imagethat helped place me with Joseph shortly after the birth of Jesus.   Mary shows great confidence in Joseph by resting peacefully . Joseph with his strong hands gently holds Jesus with a grace and protective spirit unique to a father. As the difficult journey for these three began, it was a trust in each other and God that guided them. As Jesus got older, I can see Joseph teaching his trade to Jesus, but most importantly sharing his faith.  All good stories have main characters you tend to gravitate to, but in this story, it was a supporting cast member, for the moment, who grabbed my attention. Strong hands, gentle soul, one heck of a dad.

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