So often I seem caught between fear and freedom, poverty and grace. My kids stretch me to the limit. I want to be present, but my attention is divided. The demands are many.
I try to breathe deep, but something catches my lungs short, pressing against my ribs. If I could just walk under the stars for a while, reconnect with spirit, the One Spirit who breathes in all things.
Joseph, you were a carpenter, a contemplative shaper of trees. Carve open a space, could you, in my stubborn wooden heart?
Joseph you were a faithful companion to Mary, the virgin who raised eyebrows. Carve a dwelling place in me for peace of mind, trust in God, who is always near, ready to answer. Help me to trust in Mary, who loved you deeply. She, too, is always near, ready to answer. Teach me your trust.
Joseph, your Jesus was beautiful, so alive and in love with the world! My kids, too, are beautiful, bursting with life! Let me drink from your spirit, encircling them, as you did Jesus, with constancy and strength, setting them free to love and be loved, to risk, to fall in love with the world.
St. Joseph, be with me.
“San Jose en el Rio Grande,” by William Hart McNichols
* This prayer was written in collaboration with Brother Michael O’Neil McGrath, for his book Go to Joseph (World Library, 2013).