If people know what they must do today and commit themselves to doing it and leave tomorrow to God’s providence, all is well. What more can anyone do? Take the step that needs taking today. Take another step tomorrow. Every day will have its own steps to take. —Fr. Jacques Philippe
St. Joseph’s life was full of surprises: His betrothed, Mary, conceived by the Holy Spirit. While they were traveling to Bethlehem, she gave birth in a stable. Suddenly, Joseph found himself the foster father of God. Just as they began their journey home, an angel appeared, telling Joseph to take Mary and the child and flee to Egypt.
You have to imagine that this is not what Joseph had planned for his life. And certainly he didn’t have a full understanding of these events as he was experiencing them. Yet Joseph submitted to God’s will time after time.
Can you imagine if, on the road home from Bethlehem, Joseph had decided to ignore the angel’s advice, just this once? After all, hadn’t he already sacrificed enough for God? He was tired from journeying; he wanted to go home to Nazareth instead of taking a several-year detour into a foreign country with a newborn in tow. Surely it wouldn’t be so bad if he took a shortcut this time, right?
But good St. Joseph never thought this way; he never tried to justify his own will over God’s. He simply did what he was called to do. He was humble enough to acknowledge that his own understanding was limited, and so he trusted in the wisdom of God to fill in the gaps of his own insight. He trusted that God knew best and always had his best interest in mind. Joseph’s humility is what made him capable of being a key instrument in the story of salvation.
When Joseph received a command from God, he immediately followed through. Even when he was facing doubt and filled with questions, he trusted God’s will. He didn’t understand the whole picture yet, but that didn’t hold him back from taking the first step, doing what was asked of him in that moment.
Image: Gaetano Gandolfi, Joseph’s Dream / PD-US